There’s brotherly love between Cam and Connor Heyward. Until they’re on opposite sides of the football field. Then your last name doesn’t matter.
Connor Heyward joined the Steel Here Podcast with Jersey Jerry and Kevin Adams to discuss his rookie year. A handful of times throughout the year in practice, he said Cam would line up over Connor. And considering Cam is about five inches taller and 75 pounds heavier, you don’t need two guesses to know who wins that matchup.
“There’s been a couple times where Cam will shift late,” Connor told the show. “He’ll be lined on me. I’ll be messing with him, talking crazy to him. He’ll literally just drives me off the ball. Just drives me off the ball.”
Connor said these moments happened during regular season practices, not in training camp. While Heyward is most often an interior defensive lineman going against offensive guards and tackles, there are times when he moves over tight ends. In heavy personnel groupings, two tight end sets, the Steelers will shift to their “over” front that often puts Heyward over the tight end. In some moments, it was against Connor and it sounds like Cam took great pride in winning those matchups.
Still, Connor was quick to point out how quickly he’ll turn the tables if the offense still manages a successful play out of it.
“If the ball goes completely the opposite way and something good happens, I’m talking shit to him.”
Smart offenses have run away from that over front to avoid the Heyward versus tight end matchup. That’s what the Detroit Lions did in their 200+ yard performance in 2021 and what the Baltimore Ravens did in Week 14 this past season. And it’s smart for the Steelers’ offense to do in practice.
While Cam will throw his weight around on the field and Connor said the two don’t talk all that often each day, Cam still gives veteran points to Connor like how to take care of his body.
“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. But he was like, ‘nah, you need to start getting in there.’ So I started getting in there.”
Connor will look to hit the ground running in Year Two after ending his rookie season on a high note, getting more involved offensively down the stretch. Though he isn’t as critical to the team as QB Kenny Pickett or WR George Pickens, he’ll be one of several rookies looking to take that sophomore-year jump. And hopefully can avoid blocking his brother in 2023.
Check out the full interview below.