Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love, but Pittsburgh is the city that loves brothers. At least the Pittsburgh Steelers do, at a record level.
Pittsburgh became the first NFL team to have three pairs of brothers on their roster in 2021. They’ve done one better in 2022, currently carrying four pairs of brothers on their roster. Here’s a brief look at them.
Pittsburgh Steelers Love Pairing Brothers on 2022 Roster
Carlos and Khalil Davis
Carlos Davis, the eldest of the twins by five minutes, and Khalil Davis were adopted when they were nine months old. Both were four-year lettermen in football defensive tackle) and track (shot put and discus) at Nebraska. It was their work in the discus circle that help both develop a low center of gravity that added to their explosiveness on the defensive line.
In the 2020 NFL Draft, Carlos became a Steeler in the seventh round. He only saw action in seven games his rookie year, and even less last season when he spent time on injured reserve. Khalil was drafted higher, in the 6th round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but was only active for two games as a rookie. He was cut in 2021, briefly picked up by the Indianapolis Colts, cut again, then signed to the practice squad by Pittsburgh.
The twins will be competing for roster spots, perhaps the same one, in training camp. Neither one are locks to make the opening day roster.
Trey and Terrell Edmunds
Trey and Terrell Edmunds are second-generation NFL players. Their father was Ferrell Edmunds Jr., (Trey is Ferrell Edmunds III) who was a two-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Miami Dolphins. They have another brother, Tremaine, who is a two-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the Buffalo Bills.
Trey is a running back who was originally signed by the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted free agent in 2017. They cut him before the start of the 2018 season, and Pittsburgh signed him the next day. Trey has been on and off the Pittsburgh roster since then. He has only 31 carries in his five-year career, seeing most of his action on special teams. Trey has his work cut out for him to make the team in 2022
Terrell has no such worries. He was Pittsburgh’s first-round draft choice in 2018 and has been a starting safety for them ever since. Terrell has not gained the acclaim of his younger brother Tremaine, but he has averaged 85 tackles per season during his four-year career. He came back to Pittsburgh on a one-year deal after the Steelers did not exercise the fifth-year option on his contract after the 2021 season. He has a lot riding on the 2022 season.
Derek and T.J. Watt
Derek is the middle brother of the Watt trio. He followed older brother J.J. to Wisconsin, where he was a blocking fullback for the Badgers productive running game. He was originally drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2015 draft and traded to the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers in 2016. There he made his mark as a special teams player and occasional fullback, the same role he now fills for Pittsburgh since signing there as a free agent in 2020. Heading into his seventh NFL season, his roster spot in Pittsburgh is not totally secure.
T.J. Watt, another Wisconsin alum, has inherited J.J’s mantle as one of the most feared defensive players in the NFL. Pittsburgh’s first-round selection in the 2017 draft was named AFC Defensive Player of the Year by the AP in 2021. He was named All-Pro for the third consecutive year after tying the single-season record for sacks with 22.5. T.J. also earned his third straight Pittsburgh MVP award after his spectacular season. He is entering the first year of a four-year, $112 million contract extension, so he is a pretty safe bet to make the team.
Cameron and Connor Heyward
Cameron and Connor Heyward, the newest brother pairing in Pittsburgh, are also second-generation NFL players. Their father was Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, a punishing fullback for several teams from 1988-98. Cameron Heyward is the heart of Pittsburgh’s defensive line. Drafted in the first round in 2011, Cameron has been named to the last five Pro Bowls and, along with Mean Joe Greene, are Pittsburgh’s only defensive linemen to be named All-Pro twice. He has also received numerous awards for his off-the-field work.
Connor is a tight end/H-back who Pittsburgh drafted this year in the sixth round. Cameron celebrated that on Twitter, tweeting “Guess I got a roommate.” Connor replied, “I’ll live with my grandma before I live with Cam or I’ll get my own place.” Boundaries are important. Connor will have his hands full making the team, possibly competing with Derek Watt for a roster spot.
The odds of all eight brothers making the 53-man roster are slim. Nevertheless, it will remain a great storyline for the time being. If anything, it’s worth noting for football players who are brothers how they could find themselves playing together at Heinz Field.
Main Photo: Embed from Getty Images