Report: Steelers fear that DPOY T.J. Watt tore his pec in win over Bengals

The Pittsburgh Steelers started their season with a wild win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday.

It may have been a costly one.

Linebacker T.J. Watt appeared to sustain a pectoral injury on a late hit of quarterback Joe Burrow. At the conclusion of the play with 16 seconds left in regulation, Watt walked off the field holding his left pec and appeared to be complaining of an injury.

He didn't return to the game that went to overtime. After the game, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that the Steelers fear that Watt sustained a torn pectoral muscle. He's scheduled to undergo further testing on Monday to confirm the extent of the injury.

It's unclear how much time he would miss with a torn pec. If he indeed tore it, the injury is significant and would cost Watt a chunk of the season at a minimum. Any time missed by Watt would be a blow to Pittsburgh's chances at success.

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker T.J. Watt (90) warms up before an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)
T.J. Watt appeared to sustain a pec injury in the final seconds of regulation on Sunday. (AP Photo/Joshua A. Bickel)

Watt is coming off a fourth straight All-Pro season that saw him secure NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors. He has led the NFL in sacks and tackles for loss for two consecutive seasons. He tallied 22.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss during his 2021 DPOY campaign.

He got off to a hot start Sunday with a sack and six tackles, three of them for losses. He also intercepted Burrow at the line of scrimmage. The Steelers sacked Burrow seven times while forcing five turnovers from the Bengals quarterback in the 23-20 win.

It appears that the Steelers may have escaped significant injury to another key player. The Cincinnati Enquirer's Kelsey Conway reports that starting running back Najee Harris was wearing a walking boot after the game. NFL Network's Mike Girardi, meanwhile, reports that a source told him that Harris' injury is "not considered a big deal." Harris tallied 1,627 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns as a rookie last season. He ran 10 times for 23 yards Sunday.