Cameron Heyward has accomplished quite a bit on the football field over the course of the past dozen years. He’s a multiple-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro. He’s already recognized as one of the great Pittsburgh Steelers defenders of his era, and even perhaps of all time, which is impressive given the team’s depth of defensive talent.
While the games greatest prize—a championship—continues to allude him, however, he in no way believes that he can’t multi-task. As you probably know by now, the 33-year-old recently embarked on a new venture, beginning a podcast that he intends to record throughout the season.
In his first episode this past week, he addressed a topic some were probably already thinking, even if they haven’t said it yet. And that’s the idea that professional athletes should dedicate all of their time to their profession. He talked about Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green and his own podcast, which he continued to produce even during his team’s championship run.
“Why can’t he take an hour out of his time to go on and do a podcast and literally vent to the world of what he saw?”, Heyward said. “I don’t see a problem in that. I’m still gonna be busting my butt to make sure I’m good at my job, to make sure I do whatever I can for this job”. He expanded further:
If anything, I’m putting more pressure on myself, because I uphold this and I make sure I’ve got to be the best person I can in this podcast and on the field. I’m not gonna be able to take anything from either, so for you to say, ‘Oh, that guy should just be focusing on sports’—you know, I’m a complete person. I don’t just play sports. I have a family. I like to watch movies. These are all different things I like. But to just categorize me and say, ‘Hey, you can only play football’, ‘Hey, you can only do this’, I think that’s a load of crap to me.
Heyward is far from the first NFL player to produce a podcast while still an active player. Many, many others have also done regular spots on the radio every week, whether in-season or otherwise, including former Steelers. Remarkably, they were still able to do their job even while speaking off the cuff for an hour or so per week.
There are many reasons that an athlete would want to do this, of course. Heyward believes that he has something valuable to offer from a player perspective, and he doesn’t see what he is doing as something that is in opposition to the traditional media outlets.
“I’ve learned from the media, I’ve enjoyed the media, and I’m not just saying that because I got the Good Guy Award for PFWA”, he said. “I’ve learned from them, and this isn’t to take fans from them, this is just to welcome them. I want the old media to be a part of this”.
Personally, I would be interested to hear what he has to say especially during training camp, in a venue in which he will be able to provide more extensive comments about what he is seeing, and speaking directly to the topics he wants to discuss, rather than answering questions from members of the media during a short interview session that may or may not be topics he wants to discuss.