‘Cool To Watch’ Cam Heyward Embrace His Responsibilities Within Organization, Mike Tomlin Says

Wormley and Heyward

With the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger after 18 years leading the only franchise he’s ever now, the organizational role of team leader has shifted to veteran defensive lineman Cameron Heyward.

Now the elder statesman of the team overall, Heyward is tasked with carrying on the legacy set before him in the black and gold, upholding the standard of what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Based on his play on the field, he’s more than upheld that standard, but it’s been his work off the field that has really shined a bright light on the man Heyward has become after being a first-round draft pick in 2011 out of Ohio State University.

Eleven years, five Pro Bowls, and four All-Pro accolades later, Heyward has taken over the role of the grizzled veteran on the Steelers’ physical defense, who is tasked with leading the way for the younger players underneath him, much like Brett Keisel and Aaron Smith did for Heyward when he came out of Ohio State all those years ago.

Speaking with former Steelers’ cornerback Ike Taylor and host Mark Bergin, Steelers’ head coach Mike Tomlin stated that it’s been “cool to watch” Heyward embrace his responsibilities within the organization after learning the Steeler Way at the hands of key veterans years ago.

“The beautiful thing about Cam is I watched Aaron Smith and Brett Keisel raise him. I watched them raise him and I watched him receive that humbly come every day and learn from some professionals,” Tomlin said to Taylor and Bergin, according to audio via the show’s YouTube page. “And we laughed because those guys had car seats in the back of their cars, and they were just at this different stage of life than he was. And it’s just cool to see him do similar things to the next generation of guys, that the patience in time that he has for [Isaiahh] Loudermilk and guys like that, and the fact that he has car seats in the back of his car.

“He’s the guy that is a multiple time All-Pro and got hardware and things of that nature,” Tomlin added. “Just to see that teaching and learning, that stuff that makes Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, I think, is really put on display in the career of a guy like Cam.”

Realistically, Heyward might be the last in a long line of succession plans for the Steelers as he was drafted late in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft at No. 31 overall and joined a Steelers’ team that was already rather deep in the trenches on the defensive side of the football with Smith, Keisel, Casey Hampton, Chris Hoke, Ziggy Hood, and Steve McLendon.

Instead of being upset with taking a backseat role in Pittsburgh after a dominant final season in college for Ohio State, Heyward soaked up all the experience he possibly could, which ultimately resulted in him becoming the player that he is today, putting himself in rarified air in Steelers’ history overall.

The player he’s become on and off the field has made those former teammates proud, Tomlin said. Now, things are coming full circle for Heyward as he knows what’s required of him late in his career in the black and gold.

“I’ve watched him…take some of those lessons and utilize his God-given talents and build a career for himself. And it’s cool now to watch him embrace the responsibility that comes with sharing that with others,” Tomlin said. “When some of the old guys, man, some of your old teammates come by practice, man, they are proud of that man. And they should be, guys like Brett Keisel guys, like Chris Hoke, Aaron Smith, man, they see him and they see the man that he is for us, and they’re proud of it and they should be, because that’s what we’re doing here.

“Cam is the bridge,” Tomlin added. “I always talk to Cam about when you guys are in town or anticipate you guys are in town because he really is the…he’s the guy that sits around in quiet moments in between periods, special teams, and he’s giving these guys stories of you guys and what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, and that is really a cool thing. He wears it in such a natural way. And I want you to know, like I tell everybody else, man, he’s doing a heck of a job of sharing the lessons that you guys taught him and making sure that the legacy lives on.”

Not only are the men and women inside the Steelers’ building proud of who Heyward has become on and off the field, so too is the city of Pittsburgh, proud to call him their own.

To Top
error: Alert: Content is protected !!