Linebacker T.J. Watt continues to collect offseason awards, the latest a huge honor that he won for the second consecutive year.
Watt was selected as the 101 Awards AFC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. He joins Hall of Famer Joe Greene as the only two Steelers to win the award more than once. Greene won the award in 1972 and 1974.
The award is chosen by a national selection committee that includes 101 national media that cover the NFL. This award will be presented at the 52nd Annual 101 Awards Gala in March.
Watt, the Steelers 2021 MVP, was named first-team All-Pro for the third consecutive year earlier this month and also named to the All-NFL Team by the Pro Football Writers of America.
Steelers LB T.J. Watt was selected as the 101 Awards AFC Defensive Player of the Year for the second year in a row
Watt tied Hall of Famer Michael Strahan's NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks, leading the NFL in sacks for the second-straight year.
Watt is one of only two players in NFL history to have 20 plus sacks in 14 or fewer games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. The only other one to do it was the legendary Reggie White, who had 21 sacks in 12 games in 1987 in a strike-shortened season.
Watt also became the 12th player since sacks were counted as a statistic to have at least 20 sacks in a single season, something his brother, Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, did twice.
Watt, who has 72 career sacks which ranks fourth in Steelers history, also joined White and his brother, J.J. Watt, as the only players since 1982 to have 70 plus sacks in their first five seasons in the NFL.
Watt set a new Steelers single-season sack record earlier this season when he surpassed the record set by linebacker James Harrison in 2008 when he had 16 sacks.
"It's all about tradition here and to be able to put your footprint in as part of the tradition here is special," said Watt. "I know it's an individual goal. I'm not big on individual achievements. But doing this with such a wonderful group of guys is what it's all about. To be able to be a part of this franchise hopefully for a long time, this is very special. But I really do have more work to do."
Watt recorded at least half a sack in 11 games in 2021 and has eight games with multiple sacks.
"He's one of the best defensive players in the game," said defensive tackle Cameron Heyward. "He's the best outside linebacker. He's the best defensive player to me. To have a guy that can change the game in one play.
"He is a playmaker. He is a rare breed.
"He is a game wrecker."
Other Steelers who have won the NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year Award in the past include Troy Polamalu (2010), James Harrison (2008), Carnell Lake (1997), Greg Lloyd (1994), Rod Woodson (1993), Jack Lambert (1976), Mel Blount (1975), and Joe Greene (1972, 74).