Derek Watt, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting fullback, suffered a Grade 2 hamstring pull that will keep him out of multiple games, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Watt sustained the injury during Sunday’s 28-21 victory over the Houston Texans. In the game, Watt, Pittsburgh linebacker T.J. Watt and Texans pass rusher J.J. Watt became the second brother trio to play in the same NFL game (the first — featuring Tremaine, Terrell and Trey Edmunds — happened in last season’s Bills-Steelers game). 

Despite not having Derek Watt for most of the game, the Steelers were able to take advantage of the Texans’ 31st ranked run defense. Led by James Conner’s 109 rushing yards, Pittsburgh ran for 169 yards and a touchdown on 38 carries, as the Steelers are off to their first 3-0 start since 2010. The Steelers will likely not have Derek Watt when they travel to Nashville to take on the also undefeated Titans this Sunday. 

While the Steelers will miss his presence on offense, Watt, a former Charger who signed a two-year deal with Pittsburgh this offseason, has also become a core member of the Steelers’ special teams units. In Week 2, Watt’s hit of Broncos punter Sam Martin resulted in a safety, as Pittsburgh edged Denver, 26-21. In the same game, Watt delivered a key block that helped spring Conner for a 59-yard run. 

Despite playing an often overlooked position, Watt has made a name for himself as a result of his play on the field. 

“You know his resume throughout the league and (from) playing against him throughout the league,” Steelers tight end Eric Ebron, a fellow member of Pittsburgh’s 2020 free agent class, recently said of Watt, via Joe Rutter of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “Derek is a hard worker. When he comes into the game, we’re trying to find ways to utilize him more because it is complex when he comes into the game. The more we can continue to throw those curveballs at a defense, the more it benefits our offense.”

Prior to Pittsburgh’s game against Houston, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin discussed the inconsistent role the fullback position has in his offense. 

“We don’t use the fullback to the same degree week in and week out,” Tomlin said. “There could be several weeks where there could be a minimal role, and there could be a several-week stretch where it could be a significant role. We didn’t keep any secrets in that regard. I think that is the nature of everybody’s global use of the position in today’s game.”

Given that fact, the Steelers may not elect to sign another fullback to the roster. But if they do, an option could be former Steeler Roosevelt Nix, a 2017 Pro Bowler who was recently released by the Colts. 


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