It's the time of year when awards are handed out in the NFL, and several Steelers players earned high honors on Friday.
Linebacker T.J. Watt and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick were named first-team Associated Press All-Pro, while Cameron Heyward was named second-team Associated Press All-Pro.
Watt, the Steelers 2020 MVP, is a first-team All-Pro for the second consecutive year. Watt finished the season leading the league in sacks, with 15, tackles for a loss with 23, and quarterback hits with 41. He is the third player in the NFL to record at least 15 sacks, 23 tackles for loss and 40 quarterback hits in the last 15 seasons. Watt's older brother, Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (2012, 2014 and 2015) and Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald (2018) also accomplished the feat and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year.
Pittsburgh Steelers LB T.J. Watt and S Minkah Fitzpatrick were named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press while DT Cameron Heyward earned second-team honors
"T.J. is visiting from another planet, to be quite honest with you," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "He has freakishly unique talent coupled with freakishly unique work habits and mindset, and it produces what you guys witness every week, which in my opinion, is Defensive Player of the Year quality."
Fitzpatrick was also named first-team AP All-Pro for the second straight year. Fitzpatrick leads the Steelers in tackles with 74, and also has 11 pass defenses, four interceptions – including one returned for a touchdown against Cleveland in Week 6, one tackle for a loss, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. His five takeaways rank fourth in the NFL and his four interceptions rank seventh.
"He's just a ball hawk, he's very instinctive, very smart, reads a quarterback well," said Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.
Heyward, was a first-team selection in 2019 and named All-Pro a total of three times in his career, had 54 tackles in 2020, while adding 18 quarterback hits, seven tackles for loss, four sacks, three pass defenses and one interception, the first of his career.
"Those two players are special guys, All-Pro guys that you have to know where they're at," said Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield of Watt and Heyward. "You can't let them wreck the game."