The bloodlines that exist in today’s sports carry a substantial amount of weight, as we can see with recent players across all sports, such as Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Bronny James or Arch Manning, the nephew of Peyton and Eli who’s the number-one ranked quarterback in the 2023 high school class. The Steelers know about bloodlines more than any other team in the NFL, as they currently have four sets of brothers on their team, with Derek and T.J. Watt, Carlos and Khalil Davis, Trey and Terrell Edmunds and now after the 2022 draft, Cameron and Connor Heyward.
Heyward is the sixth round draft pick of the team this year, and offers positional versatility as a rugged fullback/H-back type while also being fully capable of playing tight end. He’s a true Swiss Army Knife who will undoubtedly be a coveted asset of Special Teams Coach Danny Smith early on in his career. However, one thing is clear about Connor, based on comments he made today at the first day of Rookie Minicamp, and that is he wants to earn his keep on the team, and not be given anything easy just because of four-time All-Pro big brother Cam.
“I know I had to come in here and earn it,” Connor said, according to Steelers.com. “It’s cool that he’s my brother and everything, but I don’t want people to be like ‘he’s here because of his brother’.”
These types of connections and “playing favorites” are easy to see in the league, as we actually just saw one last season with former-Jaguars’ head coach Urban Meyer signing his former player at Florida, Tim Tebow, as a tight end. Tebow, who ultimately was cut, was signed for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s because of his close relationship with Meyer. But the younger Heyward wants absolutely no parts of that, and he also said he’s carrying a nice-size chip on his shoulder.
“I have a chip on my shoulder even more, I had a chip on my shoulder at Michigan State, I switched positions. A lot of people had to ‘oh he’s not gonna be able to do this’, I shut them up. So I’m gonna come here, go to work, lock in and do what I have to do. This is what I’ve been doing my whole life, he’s been my brother my whole life, but it’s not about my brother, this is about the team.”
It’s clear that Connor possesses a lunch pail mentality, which should come to no surprise, as he and Cam’s late father, Craig was an absolute hammer of a fullback. There’s a reason he was given the nickname “Ironhead”. Much like the selection of QB Kenny Pickett in the first round, the team likely had some heavy intel on Connor from Cam which made his selection that much more easy. Playing for a blue-collar fanbase such as the Steelers, his attitude will only endear him to his teammates and fans that much quicker.