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‘I Don’t Want To Let That Guy Down’: Heyward Appreciates Relationship With Tomlin On And Off Field

Sometimes when discussing Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, the label “players coach” often unfairly carries a negative connotation.

Too often, the players coach label means Tomlin doesn’t have control of the team, doesn’t get guys to play hard for him or even care about wins and losses because it’s all buddy-buddy.

That’s the furthest thing from the truth, and team captain Cameron Heyward – a captain for the eighth straight year — made some comments Friday during a one-on-one interview with Steelers.com’s Missi Matthews that should shoot down the notion that Tomlin being a players coach is a bad thing.

Speaking with Matthews Friday, Heyward detailed just how special his relationship with Tomlin is on and off the field, and touched on what his relationship

“With Mike T, I think I’ve just appreciated him,” Heyward stated to Matthews, according to video via Steelers.com. “From him just not only being a coach, but someone I can talk to and go through different things with, he’s my eyes and ears. I’m his eyes and the ears on the field. We just communicate about a lot of things. It’s not only just the coach, the player, it’s a friendship, and I don’t wanna let that guy down.”

During his 16 years as the head coach of the Steelers, Tomlin has done a great job of balancing that friendly relationship with players right along with being that stern, demanding coach. It’s worked out rather well as Tomlin has put together a Hall of Fame career, has done an incredible job dealing with some difficult characters overall.

Though he is able to have that friendly relationship with his players, Tomlin still gets the most out of them year after year. Heyward’s comments about not wanting to let Tomlin down reflects how all of the players feel about Tomlin overall. Guys play hard for him and want to succeed for him because of what he means to them outside of the player-coach relationship.

That’s why Tomlin has been so successful for the last 16 years. That’s why he’ll continue to remain successful as long as he does this before he ends up in the Pro Football Hall of Fame when it’s all said and done.

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