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Watt selected as PFWA Defensive Player of the Year

It's been an award-winning week for linebacker T.J. Watt, with the latest accolade for Watt being voted the Pro Football Writers of America Defensive Player of the Year.

Watt is the second Steelers player to ever win the award, which was first presented in 1992, with James Harrison previously winning the award in 2008.

Earlier this week Watt was selected as the 101 Awards AFC Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. He was also named to the Pro Football Writers All-NFL team this week.

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.

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.

Even those who have never been sacked by him, have never had to face his fury, get it.

"He is a game changer and a game wrecker," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "I've been a part of guys like that, Troy Polamalu, who can change a football game. It doesn't happen on defense that often. To be a literal game changer on defense is something completely special."

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