Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward wasn’t voted to the 2018 NFL Pro Bowl this year but on Tuesday it was announced that he will play in the annual NFL all-star game as an injury replacement for Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack.
While Heyward wasn’t voted to the Pro Bowl this year, he was named a first-team AP All-Pro for the first time in his career after the regular season ended. The Steelers former first-round draft pick out of Ohio State finished the regular season with a career-high 12 sacks, adding 45 tackles, three pass defense, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. He was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week twice during the regular season for his performance against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 4 and the Green Bay Packers in Week 12 and was also named the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year for his work off the field.
This year’s Pro Bowl will take place in Orlando, FL and the Steelers coaching staff will coach the AFC team. On Tuesday, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he looks forward to coaching at the Pro Bowl this year.
“I’m really excited about it, Tomlin said. “To get an opportunity to work with guys who are honored as the best in the business, to spend some intimate moments with them, to enjoy them – it’s awesome. I haven’t been to the Pro Bowl in a lot of years. It’s a great environment to be in. To spend time with the best in the world at what they do, to watch that comradery, to be a part of that is a special thing and an honor.”
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, one of eight Pittsburgh players voted to the Pro Bowl this year, said Tuesday morning during a radio interview that he’ll play in the annual NFL all-star game this year and mainly because the team’s coaching staff will be there.
Wide receiver Antonio Brown, running back Le’Veon Bell, guard David DeCastro, center Maurkice Pouncey, tackle Alejandro Villanueva, kicker Chris Boswell and linebacker Ryan Shazier were also voted to the Pro Bowl this year. Shazier obviously won’t play in the game due to his back injury, however. As for the other six players, we’ll have to wait and see if any of them back out this coming week as Tomlin did not say which of them would be attending when asked on Tuesday.
“I haven’t thought a lot about it,” Tomlin said. “I guess I’ll find out or get thinking along those lines here as it gets closer. I think I fly out next Tuesday. In the meantime, I’ve just really been focused on some of this housekeeping that we’ve been talking about over the last 24-48 hours.”