Throughout his first two seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers’ outside linebacker Alex Highsmith has had a front row seat to watch the great Cam Heyward at work along the Steelers’ defensive front.
Highsmith has benefitted from some of the attention Heyward draws on the field, but off the field the young pass rusher has learned and grown under Heyward’s guidance in the locker room overall, leading to him creating his own foundation, much like Heyward, while also focusing on giving back to his community overall.
Appearing on the Cook and Joe Show with hosts Ron Cook and Joe Starkey on 93.7 The Fan Friday afternoon, Highsmith talked about the leadership Heyward provides on and off the field, stating how thankful he is to have Heyward as not only his defensive captain, but a captain within the young Steelers’ locker room in a period of transition.
“Yeah, he’s Captain Cam for a reason. He’s respected around the locker room, respect around the league, and he’s just, he’s our captain for a reason cuz the way he works and just the experience that he has,” Highsmith said to Cook and Starkey, according to audio via 93.7 The Fan. “It’s just cool being to be on the same side of the line with him, cuz to be able to work with him is really cool. He works so hard, just like TJ ]Watt]. He’s dedicated to his craft and that’s what makes him so great on the field. He’s strong as all get out. So he is just out there dominating people.
“But, he is also just such a great man, such a great leader off the field, just with his foundation,” Highsmith added, according to 93.7 The Fan audio. “It’s really been cool to see how he’s impacting the community. I went to his softball game last year and going again to it this year, so it’s just cool to be able to be a part of that with him. And so it’s kind of inspired me some with some of his off the field stuff and stuff I’m doing my foundation that I started a couple years ago. So it’s just really cool to have a teammate like Cameron Heyward. I’m just thankful that he’s our captain.”
Highsmith’s thoughts on Heyward summarize the feeling that prevails inside the locker room, across the NFL, and in the community when it comes to Heyward and his overall impact on and off the field as a leader.
Over the years, the Steelers have been blessed with some incredible captains including the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Heath Miller, William Gay, James Farrior, Troy Polamalu, and more. Heyward might take the cake though as arguably the best captain in team history.
That’s certainly a debatable topic, one that has to be done without tangible evidence one way or another. Based on the way young player and new players gravitate towards him though, he has an argument for it. When Heyward speaks, everyone listens. When he leads by example and chases down the ballcarrier 50 yards down the field to save a touchdown, players respond and up their own games as well.
Heyward’s leadership will be put to the test in 2022 as the Steelers are now his team following the retirement of Ben Roethlisberger.