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If T.J. Watt is named Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press on Thursday, Watt will join Joe Greene, Mel Blount, Jack Lambert, Rod Woodson, James Harrison and Troy Polamalu as members of the Steelers organization to win the prestigious award.
Watt finished second to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald in DPOY voting last year. In 2019, Watt finished third. So, Watt has been knocking on the door of winning the award but just hasn't been able to win it yet. With tying Michael Strahan's single-season NFL sack record in 2021 with 22.5 sacks, Watt should be a lock to win DPOY.
Watt was named DPOY by 101 Awards, Sporting News and PFWA. The AP award is the official one, however. Watt was voted unanimously as first-team All-Pro by the AP.
Hall of Famers Mel Blount and Joe Greene recently spoke with Teresa Varley of Steelers.com,
and both Steelers legends said Watt could have played with them and in any generation.
"There's no question about it," Blount told Varley. "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."
Greene said Watt's will and intensity is just natural and something you can't coach.
"You definitely have to say that he could because of the intensity that he brings to the game and the desire," Greene said. "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."