In the long, illustrious history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, there’s typically a consistent theme when it comes to great players: A terrific work ethic, consistency on the field, and a clear-cut chip on their shoulder.
That certainly fits star Steelers’ defensive lineman Cameron Heyward to a T, who is somehow playing the best football of his career at 32 years of age. Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin has praised Heyward in the past, stating the Steelers are thankful to have him, but it was defensive coordinator Keith Butler who added more praise to Heyward’s legacy, stating the Steelers are glad to have the All-Pro game-wrecker in the trenches in Pittsburgh while speaking to reporters Thursday ahead of the matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals on the road.
“Yeah, I think at the first of the year somebody asked me, ‘If you had to name a name, who would you name?’ Somebody on the networks asked about that. I’d say, ‘Cam Heyward,'” Butler said to reporters Thursday, according to the official transcript provided by the Steelers. “That’s the first name that came to my mind. Who was playing with him. And he’s been doing it all year long. He’s consistent, he’s a good leader for us, he runs to the ball. We try to dadgum coach this all the time about running to the ball. Turn and run. Don’t turn and look. Don’t be a spectator on the field when you’re out there on the field playing. He isn’t. He runs to the ball all the time.”
Heyward has certainly set the standard for the Steelers in that aspect, chasing the football consistently and showing younger players how to be a Steeler by example. That’s exactly what the Steelers had in mind when they chose the future All-Pro in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.
Knowing what Heyward has become, the Steelers are certainly thankful to have him in the black and gold, none moreso than Butler, especially when asked if Heyward is overlooked nationally.
“He does some good stuff. He does it quite a bit too, Butler added. “He tries hard. He makes mistakes like the rest of us do every now and then, but he’s a good football player. A real good football player. I’m glad we have him.”
Butler’s comments echoed Tomlin’s comments following the game against the Chargers and then on Tuesday during his weekly Tomlin Tuesday press conference.
More Tomlin on Heyward: "This guy checks all the boxes. He is a blueprint for young and developing players, on the field and off, guys like (Isaiahh) Loudermilk. He's a walking, talking, breathing example of how to do it. We're appreciative of that." #Steelers
— Steelers Depot 🦃 (@Steelersdepot) November 24, 2021
There’s no mistaking just how the Steelers feel about Heyward.