Training Camp

Mike Tomlin not fretting T.J. Watt's hold-in: 'The business is going to run its course'

With training camp holdouts essentially eradicated by the new CBA, a smattering of hold-ins -- reporting for camp but not fully participating due to a dissatisfied contract -- dot the NFL landscape.

In Pittsburgh, for instance, star pass-rusher T.J. Watt, who finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting in 2020, isn't taking part in team drills as sides hope to hammer out a new contact.

Consternation toward these hold-ins varies from team to team. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin is among those not fretting about the situation with his star and cornerstone of defense not being on the field in early August. In Tomlin's view, these things have a way of working themselves out.

"Not unique at all, really," Tomlin said Tuesday, via Brooke Pryor of ESPN. "That negotiation process is going to run its course. Some run their courses faster than others. If I remember correctly, Cameron Heyward had less than 100 percent participation when he was in a similar circumstance a short time ago."

Heyward, in fact, inked a four-year, $64.6 million extension a little more a week before the 2020 season started. Watt's payday projects to be much bigger, so we'll see if it takes longer for the Steelers to get it done.

Neither team owner Art Rooney II nor Tomlin seems worried about Watt missing reps at this stage. If anything, the coach is glad to give other players additional snaps -- like newcomer Melvin Ingram -- as the Steelers try to figure out their edge-rushing rotation outside of Watt.

"The business is going to run its course," Tomlin said. "He's highly conditioned. Strength staff is working with him. He's getting in good work days. The process is running its course. In the meanwhile, man, I'm focusing on the guys that are working, their level of productivity and what type of days they've been having."

Whereas previous holdouts coaches had no contact with players and didn't see what sort of shape they were in first-hand, these hold-ins seem to be offering more optimism. The coaches -- who talk to the media more than any other franchise voice -- seem less worried about the situations given the disgruntled players are in the building, even if they aren't fully involved in every aspect of practice.

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