Coming off of the most dominant stretch of his career, Pittsburgh Steelers star defensive lineman and team captain Cameron Heyward isn’t eyeing the finish line anytime soon.
At 33 years of age, Heyward continues to get better and better as the years add up. Dating back to 2017, Heyward has racked up five straight trips to the Pro Bowl and four All-Pro honors in five seasons (three First Team All-Pros, one Second Team All-Pro). With the Steelers in a period of transition, the attention has now fully shifted to Heyward, as the Steelers appear to be his team now and moving forward, much like it was Ben Roethlisberger’s team for the longest time.
Despite being 33 and playing a physically taxing position like the defensive line for 17 games a season, Heyward — appearing on the Mina Kimes Show podcast Tuesday morning — stated he’s aiming to play at least five more years, which would put him at 38 years of age.
NEW POD! Future media superstar @CamHeyward joins the show to discuss:
-How his role has evolved over the last decade (and where he stacks up amongst DTs)
-The upcoming Steelers season
-Some NFL takes 🔥
-Amassing tickets at Chuck E Cheese
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) May 31, 2022
If anyone can do that along the defensive line in today’s game, it’s Heyward.
“I want five more [years],” Heyward said to Kimes, according to audio from the podcast. “If I get five more…my wife might hate me by then, but five more.”
Currently, Heyward is signed through the 2024 season, which would give him another three years in the black and gold before a decision would need to be made. Based on his trajectory as of late, he’s only going to continue to get better, which is truly baffling, considering his position and the overall transition to the sport being a “young man’s game” at least in terms of the numbers within the age. Thirty-three isn’t old, per se, but in football terms, it’s getting up there.
Heyward credits sitting and learning how to be a pro and take care of his body early in his time in Pittsburgh as a reason why he is getting better with age and is aiming to play another five years. Heyward, the 31st overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, sat behind the likes of Brett Keisel, Ziggy Hood, and Aaron Smith early in his Steelers’ career before being inserted into the starting lineup in 2013.
“So like for me, I was pretty lucky. My first two years I didn’t play at all,” Heyward said to Kimes. “I went to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31st overall, but they had already had a D-line set. I remember going to countless meetings where my D-line coach would tell me, ‘You’re fighting for special teams reps. You’re not gonna start here right now.’ So, understanding that, now I’m at the back end of my career, but I think that kind of benefited me to rest my body and now I’m performing better than I ever have.”
On the podcast with Mina Kima, Cam Heyward says he wants to play five more years. That'd put him to age 38.
If anyone is going to do it, it's Cam. https://t.co/3o6oCzimH4
— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) May 31, 2022
The Steelers’ star certainly is performing better than he ever has, and should see an uptick in stats in 2022 with the return of Tyson Alualu from injury and the perceived return from former Pro Bowl defensive end Stephon Tuitt opposite him, drawing more one-on-one reps for Heyward, who seemingly can’t be blocked in today’s game.
If the Steelers can get another five years out of Heyward like he’s aiming for, that would be a huge win for the franchise, helping the black and gold transition into a new era on both sides of the football.