Chris Adamski had a really good feature piece on Darrius Heyward-Bey that our Matthew Marczi summed up and added onto this morning. I don’t know if much of it was ground-breaking but it reinforced the value DHB has to the Pittsburgh Steelers. To assume that leadership role, even when he was never asked to lead before, he’s become the big brother in a still-young wide receiver room.
Seven receivers in the room are 25 or younger; Heyward-Bey the elder at 30. He’s the one the young receivers talk with, learn from the most. A true mentor. And though the receiver room is as crowded as any, dumping a guy like that is a hard sell.
Without him, there is no true leader in that room. Antonio Brown is the biggest talent, duh, but he is a part-time diva who has never assumed that role Heyward-Bey has. Both hard workers, two of the best ones on the team, but their leadership exists in different fashions. And asking Brown to take on that role might not work out.
Beyond him, there is no leader. Mainly because roster spots are so up-in-the-air. It isn’t Martavis Bryant, who only needs to focus on improving himself, or Sammie Coates, who needs to do the same with his on-field play. Isn’t Eli Rogers, obviously isn’t going to be JuJu Smith-Schuster.
By default, it’s on DHB, but it’s a role he’s assumed and thrived since being signed by the Steelers. He does everything the right way. Hard worker, in tremendous shape, doesn’t complain, big help on special teams, and has gone through the ups and downs of his career any young player – some, who have rarely experienced that – will inevitably encounter.
He isn’t someone the team should dump. Not the most talented receiver on the roster but he’s the heart and soul.