If you were among the most skilled and successful individuals in your profession, you would probably want to be recognized for it, especially if other people one way or another are going to, right? You work in a high-profile industry, so anybody who is good is going to get noticed. So not getting the same recognition as your peers just means you’re not held in as high esteem.
I can certainly see that driving a player in the National Football League, and even a player like the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Cameron Heyward understands the significance of being recognized—especially for something as significant as the Hall of Fame, which has been a topic of conversation since Chris Collinsworth called Heyward a surefire Hall of Famer during Sunday’s broadcast.
Truth be told, it’s not something that I had really given much thought to relative to Heyward. For starters, he doesn’t play a position that attracts Hall of Fame voters. For another thing, he was a rotational player for his first couple of seasons, and did not reach even a Pro Bowl until 2017, his seventh season.
He has made the Pro Bowl, and the All-Pro List, for four years running now, however, and is well on his way to his fifth in a row at the age of 32. How much further would he really have to go at this point in his career in order to solidify that distinction? Seriously, I think he’d like to know.
Responding to a Twitter post in which a fan asked Heyward what his honest take was on his potential candidacy for the Hall of Fame, he said simply, “I want it and I’ll work my tail off to prove it”. He might have to, considering some people apparently thought he was retired this offseason.
I want it and I’ll work my tail off to prove it
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) October 19, 2021
Heyward, who on Sunday recorded the 60th sack of his career, said back in September during a candid and honest moment in an interview with the media that he does believe he is the best defensive lineman in the league. For what it’s worth, right now, Pro Football Focus agrees.
He also wasn’t happy last year when the 2010s All-Decade Team came out and his name wasn’t on that list. “All Decade…. My a**”, he Tweeted, when he saw the names of J.J. Watt, Julius Peppers, and Calais Campbell, but not his own. “Y’all gonna stop sleepin on me…. You might have crowned others but I’m coming for them all”.
It would certainly be wonderful if Heyward ends up in the Hall of Fame one day. There’s no doubt in my mind he is one of the best defensive players in football right now and has been for the past several seasons, at least. What else he has to do? Well, I don’t set the criterion, and I’m not going to expend mental energy coming up with a fake one with no vote.