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Cameron Heyward Has Never Mentioned Retirement, Connor Says: ‘It Almost Feels Like He’s Not Aging’

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro defensive lineman Cameron Heyward may have sent a few fans’ hearts up into their throats when he spoke at the end of the season and seemed to call into question whether or not the team would want him back next season.

Even though he’ll be 34 years old next season, he’s still playing at or near the peak of his career with another season of double-digit sacks and tackles for loss. That he wasn’t voted All-Pro and had to make the Pro Bowl as an alternate is a shame. But he’s not going anywhere.

And he hasn’t even mentioned the ‘r’ word, retirement, according to his little brother. Connor Heyward was recently on the Steel Here podcast (actually just before the Pro Bowl, even though it went online yesterday) and he was asked that question, to which he said no.

Asked if he believes that Steelers fans have any reason to worry about it, he said, “No. I don’t think anytime soon. It almost feels like he’s not aging”. And if you look at the numbers, you could make that argument. But it’s not for nothing. Connor described the amount of work he puts into his body to maintain his level of performance, talking about a trainer who treats the both of them on a regular basis.

“Cam’s going there after practice, laying in the tub. He’s doing a lot”, he said. “Chiropractor. It’s just nuts. He definitely puts in a lot of time. He was getting on me a lot about getting in the tubs. I like the hot tub, but the cold tub I’m good on”.

Another player with substantial longevity in Pittsburgh is James Harrison. He played until he was 39 and probably could have kept going if he really wanted to, long preaching the importance of investing in your body. He once claimed to spend over $100,000 a year during his playing career just on keeping his body in condition.

Drafted in the first round in 2011, Cameron Heyward has already logged 12 seasons in the NFL, all in Pittsburgh. He should break Harrison’s team sack record in 2023—but he will have to get there before T.J. Watt does, because they’re neck and neck.

He has had one of the more remarkable second-half careers, however. Since 2017, after a major injury, he has played at another level, making the Pro Bowl every season. He’s tallied 53.5 sacks with 396 tackles, 73 tackles for loss, 122 quarterback hits, six forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 28 passes defensed in the past six years.

At the moment, the Steelers don’t really have any other options outside of him, anyway. They will need to start investing in young, high-pedigreed talent, as they did with him in 2011 while Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, and Casey Hampton were winding down their own careers. Both Smith and Keisel managed to play until they were 35 or 36, but not at as high a level as Heyward is now.

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