Over the weekend, the Steelers franchise added to their ever-growing collection of brother teammates when they added H-back/tight end Connor Heyward with their sixth-round draft choice. Obviously he’s the younger brother of four-time All-Pro defensive tackle and seven-time defensive team captain Cameron Heyward, who earlier today sat down with CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome. Now a seasoned veteran of the team, Heyward was pressed about his brother’s draft day, having already walked in Connor’s shoes for the whole process.
“Well, the draft process, I think it’s its own monster,” Heyward said on The Jim Rome Show. “Like you gotta be on your P’s and Q’s, and there’s a lot of unknowing. You can see the angst, from the exterior now. I remember when I was going through the ringer and I just couldn’t believe the process. And then watching him going through it and then draft day, he was just so nervous and wanted to just hear his name called. And for it to be the Pittsburgh Steelers, it seemed pretty fitting.”
After fulfilling their dream aspirations, we very often see these athletes break down into tears, as the opportunity that they’ve been working for their whole life is about to become a reality. First-rounder Kenny Pickett was a prime example, as that fateful phone call from Tomlin nearly brought him to his knee. However, the younger Heyward already seems to be playing into the traditional Steelers’ way, as he held his cards tight to his chest in this instance, even fooling Cam.
“Well, it was funny cause like he stormed off because he was a little bit upset and he went into a room, and I went to check after him, and his phone rang. I was like, ‘who is it’? And he wouldn’t tell me. And he’s talking to a coach, I find out it’s Coach T, but he kept walking away from me and I didn’t know who it was. So then he got off the phone, and then Coach T called me and told me we were drafting him. He was like, ‘we got him bro’. And I was like, wow, my brother’s really been holding onto this one a little bit too long.”
Obviously both are the sons of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, a thunderous fullback who also played his college ball at Pitt before a ten-year career in the NFL. Rome asked Cam exactly what type of role he’s played as a father figure/role model for Connor, and his answer was pretty much we can expect from the no-nonsense older brother.
“He’s been good, you know, we always have to find our own lanes, right? And, I chose to go to Ohio State over Pitt all those years ago and then I found my way back to Pitt. He chose to go to Michigan State over Pitt, but then he found his way back to Pitt. And you know what, I think you’re gonna create your own legacy and you’re gonna build upon it. [Coach Jim Tressel] once told me, he said, ‘back in Ohio, they have a street named after him’, after his dad and Coach Tress’s motivation was ‘I want a highway named after me’. And so with that, I wanted a highway named after me after going with my dad. And now Connor’s gotta just continue to go expand on that as well.”
With training camp officially slated to return to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe later this summer, we should all anxiously await the annual night practice at Chuck Noll Field, which features live hitting during goal line drills. And I’m sure Tomlin may indeed have a few plays up his sleeve for the rookie, placing him squarely on the line of scrimmage across from big brother.
“No, if anything I’m going harder. You know, there’s a level of, there’s a new standard he’s gotta keep up if he’s wearing Heyward on the back of his jersey. He’s gotta make sure not only my legacy, but my dad’s legacy. I know he is up for that, but you won’t see me taking it easy on him at all.”
Check out the entire conversation below.