The Pittsburgh Steelers are now into the offseason, following a year in which they had high hopes for Super Bowl success, but ultimately fell short of even reaching the postseason at 8-8. It was a tumultuous season, both on the field and within the roster, and the months to follow figure to have some drama as well, especially in light of the team’s failure to improve upon the year before.
The team made some bold moves over the course of the past year, and some areas of the roster look quite a bit different than they did a year ago, or even at the start of the regular season. Whether due to injuries or otherwise, a lot has transpired, and we’re left to wonder how much more will change prior to September.
How will Ben Roethlisberger’s rehab progress as he winds toward recovery from an elbow injury that cost him almost the entire season? What about some of the key young players, some of whom have already impressed, others still needing quite a bit of growth? Will there be changes to the coaching staff? The front office? Who will they not retain in free agency, and whom might they bring in?
These are the sorts of questions among many others that we have been exploring on a daily basis and will continue to do so. Football has become a year-round pastime and there is always a question to be asked, though there is rarely a concrete answer, as I’ve learned in my years of doing this.
Question: Is there any realistic chance that Cameron Heyward doesn’t finish his career with the Steelers?
Cameron Heyward was born in Pittsburgh, though he went to high school in Georgia, and attended Ohio State. But he is the son of Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, and it always felt predestined that he would be drafted by the Steelers. If not for a remarkably deep class at his position, he would have never been available to Pittsburgh at 31 in 2011.
But here we are, going on a decade now. He has firmly established himself as one of the best at his position in the game right now, and has been straight dominant for the past three years—since returning from a significant season-ending injury.
Since then, he has made the Pro Bowl every year and has been a first-team All-Pro twice. He has posted 29 sacks, 37 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, and 12 passes defensed, and has consistently graded as one of the top interior defenders in the NFL.
The Steelers don’t typically let that sort of player get away. There are salary cap concerns, to be sure, some not in their control, but there are ways of working things out. At 31, we don’t know how many years he has left of playing. Could be two or three. Could be five or six. The longer he plays, the less likely he retires a Steeler, though.