Cameron Heyward, now an 11-year NFL veteran, recently made an appearance on the Mina Kimes show, sharing some insight into a bevy of topics. Among the things that were discussed by the three-time All-Pro Pittsburgh Steeler was his relationship with head coach Mike Tomlin.
The former 2011 first-round pick has played his entire professional career for Tomlin and has experienced much success under him. That is especially true since 2017, and beginning with that year, Heyward has had several honors bestowed upon him, such as five Pro Bowl nods.
While Tomlin has had his fair share of success as well, Kimes discussed the notion of whether certain preconceived notions bring that success down a notch. In particular, the fact that he’s a players’ coach, which is due to “racial undertones,” as Kimes put it. But Heyward was quick to defend his head coach, however.
“Yeah most of the time they do call black head coaches, players’ coaches. My team wants the best from you and to think that it’s denigrated to his skin color and it’s looked at as, oh, ‘he just hangs out with his players’, To me, that guy, he’s a student of the game. He’s constantly in the film room.”
Heyward also pointed out Tomlin’s relentlessness in his approach to the players, in particular to the offseason. Heyward reminisced about Tomlin having him work on stuff for training camp before minicamp was even completed.
Many words can be used to describe Tomlin’s successful tenure in Pittsburgh so far. One of those is accountability which Heyward believes Tomlin excels at.
“There is a level of accountability in our locker room. We know we have to perform, and he lays it out every day.”
He fondly enlightened Mina on one of Tomlin’s methods for maintaining such accountability every year. Tomlin makes sure that Heyward and his teammates put in work every single day, no excuses. If not, there’s hell to pay for these Steelers.
“The humiliation part is a part of it, and I like that… He’s [going to] put me on the board. Rverybody’s going to see it. And everybody appreciates that.”
Getting singled out on a board for an entire team to see is a nice deterrent, no one wants that. It’s just one of the ways that Tomlin keeps the success going in Pittsburgh.