T.J. Watt ruled out vs. Bengals with groin injury

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Pittsburgh Steelers pass-rusher T.J. Watt has been downgraded to out for Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals due to a groin injury.

Watt was initially listed as questionable on Friday after being limited in practice all week. He was close to playing Sunday, but the team is protecting its $112-million investment after Watt picked up the injury in last Sunday's loss to the Las Vegas Raiders, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

"I think it was a tweak here or there and then tried to push through it," Watt said of the injury Friday, according to ESPN's Brooke Pryor. "Just trying to be smart at the end of the day, ultimately. It's a long season."

Watt, a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year last season, already has three sacks and two forced fumbles in less than two games in 2021. He signed a new contract prior to the campaign that makes him the NFL's highest-paid defender.

Fellow linebacker Alex Highsmith was already ruled out Friday with a groin injury of his own, so the Steelers will be down to veteran Melvin Ingram and rookie Jamir Jones at the position.

Ingram has one sack, five tackles, and four quarterback hits, while Jones has two tackles and one quarterback hit in limited action this year.

The Steelers and Bengals are currently in a four-way logjam with matching 1-1 records in the AFC North.

T.J. Watt ruled out vs. Bengals with groin injury
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