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Mike Tomlin Pleased To See Connor Heyward Make Some Coverage Unit Plays Against Seahawks

One NFL game, two tackles on special teams, two receptions on offense. Not a bad night for rookie sixth-round pick Connor Heyward in his debut for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Throughout the night Saturday at Acrisure Stadium against the Seattle Seahawks, Heyward was around the football quite a bit on the coverage units and as a receiving option offensively. He showed exactly what his role can be on the Steelers’ 53-man roster moving forward, assuming he makes it.

That type of versatility on display Saturday night will go a long way for him in his career. In fact, that versatility and play on special teams drew the eyes of head coach Mike Tomlin, who stated to reporters after the win over the Seahawks that it was “good” to see Heyward making plays on special teams, answering some questions about him that the coaching staff may have had.

“You know, it’s good to see him make some coverage unit plays,” Tomlin said to reporters after the game, according to video via Steelers.com. “You always got questions about the white shirts, that’s what we refer to as offensive football players, in the special teams game. And I think he had a couple of kickoff tackles, which is good for him and for us.”

In his very first opportunity on special teams from a coverage standpoint, Heyward raced downfield to tackle Seattle return man DeeJay Dallas at the Seattle 26 yard line following the Steelers’ opening-drive touchdown.

A few plays later, following a punt into the end zone for a touchback by Seattle, Heyward got involved offensively, making a leaping 16-yard catch off of a pass from Mitch Trubisky, moving the Steelers near midfield on a drive that eventually stalled, resulting in a punt.

Two drives later, Heyward added an eight-yard catch from Mason Rudolph to finish with two catches for 24 yards on the night. He even added a two-point conversion catch from Kenny Pickett in the second half.

He wasn’t done on special teams though.

Coming out of the half with the Steelers holding a 17-10 lead, Heyward ran down on the kickoff to open the second half and stopped Seattle return man Cade Johnson at the Seattle 27 yard line. The Seahawks went on to quickly score a touchdown on the drive, but Heyward put his talents on full display Saturday night inside Acrisure Stadium, showing a national audience exactly why the Steelers drafted him in the sixth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, which had absolutely nothing to do with him being the younger brother of Cam Heyward.

Connor showed he can play offensively and in all three phases on special teams. Now, it’s about building on it, stacking good days and putting up good performances for the coaching staff.

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