T.J. Watt to use Defensive Player of the Year award as motivation

T.J. Watt vowed the honour of winning Defensive Player of the Year will motivate him more after the Pittsburgh Steelers star claimed the prize on Thursday.

Watt was announced as the winner during the NFL Honours ceremony in Los Angeles, following in the footsteps of three-time winner J.J. Watt.

He took the award after racking up 22.5 sacks in 2021 but, following a campaign in which the Steelers were eliminated in the Wild Card round of the playoffs, is only using the accomplishment as further fuel going into 2022.

"I just want to thank my parents. Mom, dad, this is insane," said Watt. "My brothers, Derek and J.J., you guys have pushed me so much to get me to this point.

"My beautiful fiancee, Dani, for being my number one supporter. My team-mates and coaches back in Pittsburgh, this is truly not possible without you guys.

"There are so many guys that put in so much work that goes unnoticed. That's everyone from the guys in the cafeteria to the guys that are taping ankles. This ones for all of you guys.

"I grew up coming to this awards show, I think five or six times, and never came home with hardware. But every time I left more motivated than the time I got here. I promise this only motivates me more.

"I feel like I'm just about to be entering the prime of my career and that's why more than ever I just want to continue to find ways to get better at this game.

"That's why I love football so much. There's always room for improvement and I'm not satisfied. I'd much rather be playing in the Super Bowl this weekend than winning this award for sure.

"To be able to be recognised as the best defensive player in the year is definitely something that I strive to be.

"I'm not huge on individual goals, but it's tough for me not to want that when I saw my brother at the height of his career win the award three times and I always just thought to myself, why can't I do that?

"I'm just so motivated. I'm very honoured to receive this award when there's so many successful and great players in the National Football League."