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J.J. Watt Says Steelers Got Good ‘Junk’ In New OLB Markus Golden


Over the weekend, we noted T.J. Watt had heard “nothing but good things” from J.J. Watt about new outside linebacker teammate Markus Golden. Golden and the oldest Watt brother spent the past two years in Arizona before J.J. retired and Golden signed a cheap, one-year deal with the Steelers late last week.

Golden got in his first practice with Pittsburgh Tuesday and spoke with reporters following practice, saying he was excited to get to play with both Watt brothers (sorry, Derek). In a response to ESPN Brooke Pryor’s tweet sharing Golden’s comments, J.J. tweeted about Golden, offering a ringing endorsement for the player and the man.

“One of the best teammates I’ve ever been around…gonna give you everything he has every single time he steps on the field,” Watt said in part.

And if you’re wondering where the “Junk” nickname comes from, he earned it as a rookie in 2015 with the Cardinals for being what teammates described as a “Junkyard Dog” for his effort to the football, one initially bestowed by ex-Steelers’ LB Larry Foote, who served as Cardinals’ linebacker coach at the time.

“He’s exactly what we drafted – a junkyard dog,” then-head coach Bruce Arians said per the AZ Central. “He goes full speed in practice all the time. You have to tell him, ‘Whoa!’ That’s what his signature is. It’s his motor.”

His effort hasn’t waned well into his football career. As our Jonathan Heitritter noted, Golden plays with max effort and chases the ball all over the field, using his motor to carve out a career that’s entering Year Nine.

From Watt, the comments are high praise coming from a man who spent over a decade in the NFL and has been around plenty of great players. It’s unlikely Golden will take issue with his #3 rotational role the way that Melvin Ingram did, eventually traded out of Pittsburgh, and his relationship with OLBs Coach Denzel Martin should help, too. Golden feels like an ideal signing for what the Steelers were looking for behind T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith. A productive, pedigree veteran pass rusher willing to come off the bench, fly to the football, and be an overall great teammate. Oh yeah, his contract is awfully cheap, too, making this a perfect deal.

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