"The only approval any Steeler should seek is to earn the approval from previous legends who have donned the black and gold. And if you've really earned their respect, they'll say, 'You could've played with us.'"
When Troy Polamalu shared those words during his Pro Football Hall of Fame speech, those who understand the Steelers' culture nodded because they know it's the truth.
What they also know is it's not often that the legends of the 1970s, those who won four Super Bowls and now wear Hall of Fame Gold Jackets, utter those words.
It's rare, it's special, reserved for only the best of the best, the ones they feel are truly worthy of it.
Well, in the eyes of the best of the best, they feel outside linebacker T.J. Watt is worthy of those words.
"There's no question about it," said Hall of Fame cornerback Mel Blount. "He's a generational guy. He could have played in any generation. Those guys just don't come along that often.
"He's a difference maker. It's his motor. He is just one of those guys that keeps coming. He always just seems to be in a different gear. You can't teach that desire. It has to come from deep down within you.
"I think without any question at all he could have played on those Super Bowl teams we were on."
He isn't the only one who feels that way.
Joe Greene, the man who is the definition of a Steelers defensive player, completely agrees.
"You definitely have to say that he could because of the intensity that he brings to the game and the desire," said Greene. "The separation between any player, those that command and demand respect, is the attitude that they bring to the game, to the position. That's the separation line. The attitude. The desire. For them, winning the game and beating the opposition is the number one priority.
"Just looking at him, his physical stature for an edge rusher, he has length, he has the legs and the arms. The most important of all other than the physical stature is he has the want to and the desire. That is what makes it happen for him. He has the motor. That's the engine that drives him. I had the size and the ingredients, but what was missing with me was the speed. What helped me was my desire to play, my desire to win, and I see that same thing in T.J.'s effort on every play. You see that intensity. You can't coach that."