‘I Think I’m On Track’: Cameron Heyward Believes He’s A Hall Of Fame Talent

As his career is closer to the end than the beginning, much of the discussion for Pittsburgh Steelers’ All-Pro defensive tackle Cameron Heyward has to do with his chase for that elusive Super Bowl trophy, and whether or not he’s a Hall of Fame player when it’s all said and done.

While his singular focus remains on bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Pittsburgh and the Steelers’ organization for a seventh time in team history, Heyward hasn’t shied away from the talk regarding his potential place in the hallowed halls of Canton, Ohio.

Coming off of his 12th season in the NFL, it feels as though Heyward is certainly on track for that honor. There’s been more of a push for Heyward’s candidacy after his playing days from major media members, and that continued Wednesday when Dave Dameshek spoke with Heyward on his Minus Three Pod regarding all things Steelers and the Hall of Fame.

Heyward, sticking with the same thought process, believes he’s “on track” to get into the Hall of Fame.

“I think I’m on track. I’m not running away from that,” Heyward stated to Dameshek, according to audio via the show’s podcast page. “My goal is to one day have a Super Bowl and then be able to say I’m in the Hall of Fame. It takes a village to get to this point. It’s not just me. And the best way to…thank those people that have been apart [of it] is to reach that ultimate goal. I’m not saying I’m there yet. I got some more work to do.”

In his career, Hayward certainly has the production to show he’s a Hall of Fame talent.

Through 12 seasons, Heyward has 614 tackles, 78,5 sacks, two interceptions, 115 tackles for loss, 176 quarterback hits, 46 pass deflections, seven fumble recoveries and eight forced fumbles, earning four All-Pro accolades and six trips to the Pro Bowl. When it comes to Hall of Fame candidacy, I really like to look at Pro Football Reference’s Hall of Fame monitor, as it takes into consideration stats and accolades like Pro Bowl and All-Pro selections when weighing a player’s candidacy for induction.

Heyward currently ranks 24th on the list of defensive tackles with a 59.5 Hall of Fame score, right behind former New England and Houston star nose tackle Vince Wilfork. Heyward’s monitor score is ahead of Kansas City Chiefs’ Hall of Fame defensive lineman Curley Culp, though he played in a far different era of football compared to today. The next closest Hall of Famer on the monitor is former San Francisco defensive lineman Bryant Young, who has a 64.3 HoF monitor score. Young was inducted into the Hall just as a member of the Class of 2022 after a great career, and is a real comparison, from a candidacy standpoint, for Heyward right now.

Though he closed the second half of the season in impressive fashion, finishing with 10.5 sacks, Heyward didn’t make the Pro Bowl or All-Pro team, numbers that hurt his Hall of Fame chances.

According to PFR, an “average” Hall of Fame score is 110 at the defensive line position, which makes Heyward monitor score far off, and seemingly entirely unobtainable. The highest score is Bob Lilly’s 159.35 while Aaron Donald sits in second place at 146.25.

Even if he ultimately doesn’t get in based on numbers alone, his reputation amongst his peers and the media is that of one of the best defensive linemen in the game today. He has been since 2017, too. Despite being 34 entering the 2023 season, Heyward seems to still have some great football ahead of him.

If he can continue to put up strong numbers and earn All-Pro and Pro Bowl accolades, as well as potentially bring home a Lombardi trophy, his case for induction will only grow stronger.

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