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Mike Tomlin 'Optimistic' of T.J. Watt Deal

The Pittsburgh Steelers have made it clear they'll hold strong on their rule not to negotiate contracts during the season.

PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers have not yet signed outside linebacker T.J. Watt to a contract extension, but head coach Mike Tomlin believes there's a deal on the horizon. 

Watt has not participated in team activities throughout training camp and preseason, but is expected to return to practice on Wednesday. Tomlin is also anticipating Watt will play Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills, with a new deal.

"I remain optimistic that something is going to get done from a deal perspective," Tomlin said. "That aside, I'm expecting him to work tomorrow. That's the approach I'm taking."

The Steelers have a long-standing rule that they do not negotiate contracts during the regular season. Team president Art Rooney II and general manager Kevin Colbert have both said that rule will not change with Watt. 

Pittsburgh will practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday before heading to Buffalo. Tomlin expects Watt to be a full participant throughout those days. 

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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