Watt returns to practice; Austin remains on IR

Linebacker T.J. Watt returned to practice today, his first day back after being placed on the Reserve/Injured List on Sept. 15.

The Steelers have a 21-day window to either activate Watt to the 53-man roster, or he remains on the Reserve/Injured List for the remainder of the season.

Watt was placed on the list after suffering a pectoral injury against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 of the season.

Watt, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, had a sack and an interception in the win over the Bengals, before leaving the game with the injury.

Without Watt in the lineup, the defense is currently ranked 28th overall in the NFL, and 18th against the run.

Watt had an epic 2021 season, tying Hall of Famer Michael Strahan's NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks, leading the NFL in sacks for the second-straight year. On his way to tying Strahan, Watt set a new Steelers single-season sack record when he passed James Harrison, who had 16 sacks in 2008.

Rookie receiver Calvin Austin III will remain on the Reserve/Injured List after the 21-day window to activate him expired.

Austin was placed on the list at the beginning of the season after suffering a foot injury in training camp. Under the Reserve/Injured List rules he was required to miss the first four weeks of the season.

Austin returned to practice on. Oct. 5 at which point the 21-day window was activated. Austin didn't see any action in the preseason, suffering his injury prior to the first preseason game.

Austin was selected in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, the 138th pick overall. Austin was a first-team All-AAC selection in 2020 and 2021, contributing not just on offense for the University of Memphis but also on special teams. He finished his career ranked second in school history with 22 receiving touchdowns, fourth in receiving yards with 2,541 and fifth in receptions with 156. He also returned punts, including 29 for 323 yards, an 11.1-yard average, and two touchdowns.