The Pittsburgh Steelers wrapped up their 2022 mandatory minicamp on Thursday and as it turns out, the team did not have everyone present for all three practices. At the very least, we now know that Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward was not present at minicamp on Wednesday and Thursday. After Thursday’s practice concluded, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about Heyward not being present the last two days and if his absence was excused.
“It is,” Tomlin said.
Why was Heyward absent the last two days of minicamp? Who knows? Truth be told, it really doesn’t matter as long as it was not due to a significant injury of some kind. After all, Heyward is a team leader, and he likely had a good reason to not be present the last two days. If anything, him being absent maybe provided a few extra practice reps for the younger defensive line players on the team’s depth chart.
So far this offseason, we have seen video of Heyward doing training under the watchful eye of Chuck Smith, a former NFL player who is now a famous pass rush instructor. Steelers defensive tackle Tyson Alualu has been included in at least a few of those sessions away from the team as well. This is not a new development with Heyward, however, as he has worked with Smith during past offseason.
In addition to getting his training in this offseason, Heyward has been sharpening his media skills as well. He has seen quite frequently on the NFL Network this offseason and that included him doing analysis spots while in Indianapolis to watch his younger brother Connor Heyward participate in the scouting combine.
Heyward, who is now 33, had a fantastic 2021 season. He was voted a First-Team All-Pro and to the Pro Bowl again last year after registering 10 sacks and 53 total tackles during the regular season. Oh, he also registered a forced fumble and interception in 2021 as well to go along with nine passes defensed.
The Steelers will not resume team practices again until they report to Saint Vincent College in Latrobe in late July and Heyward figures to be one of the first players on the team to report.