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07-31-2011, 02:15 AM
Steelers pick Heyward learning art of defensive end

http://www.timesonline.com/sports/steel ... 99982.html (http://www.timesonline.com/sports/steelers/steelers-pick-heyward-learning-art-of-defensive-end/article_41c51205-469d-5eb6-ad60-1d1058e99982.html)

By Mike Bires mbires@timesonline.com
?LATROBE — After practice while running extra sprints with a few of his new teammates, Cameron Heyward pulled off a sweaty jersey and revealed a torso void of tattoos.

Not that he has anything against anybody who wears body art. But he’s just never been the kind of guy who needs to express himself with tattoos. Not even at Ohio State, where a tattoo parlor helped bring down coach Jim Tressel and star quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Never did Heyward, a former Buckeye defensive lineman, ever get caught up in the trap of exchanging football memorabilia for cash and free tattoos.

“No, I don’t need tattoos,” Heyward said Saturday after the Steelers’ training camp practice. “I just tried to stay clear of that whole thing. Those guys have to live with that. They have to learn from their mistakes.”

Heyward is a young man with high moral standards. That’s one of the reasons why the Steelers chose him with their first pick of the 2011 Draft.

But the main reason the Steelers drafted Heyward is because they believe he’ll be a terrific pro defensive end.

“We really liked his competitiveness and the way he stayed with every play in college,” defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “We also liked the fact he has Pittsburgh ties.”

Those ties, of course, come from his father, the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, the former star running back at Pitt who died five years ago from brain cancer.

Cameron Heyward was asked about his dad Friday after signing a four-year, $6.7 million contract with $3.3 million of guaranteed money.

“What would your dad say to you right now?” said one of the reporters covering camp.

“He’d say, ‘Don’t be late,’” Heyward said with a smile. “He’d be pretty mad at me right now. He would be saying, ‘Get your butt in there and get to work.’ I’ve got a lot to learn.”

Heyward, who’ll wear jersey No. 95, missed half of his first practice as a Steeler. That’s because he didn’t sign his contract until 3 or so on Friday afternoon. But he was one of the first players on the field Saturday and one of the last to leave.

“I’m learning. I proved that out here today,” he said. “Every day is a building block. I just have to continue to improve.”

As a rookie, Heyward will serve an apprenticeship behind the Steelers’ top three defensive ends — Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel and Ziggy Hood.

“They’re awesome,” Heyward said. “I’m just proud to be part of this great defensive line. I have the best learning tools a young guy like me could have in those three guys. I just want to contribute in any way I can and help this team win.”

07-31-2011, 01:24 PM
Great pick up for us. High talent, no ego type of player!


07-31-2011, 10:42 PM
Really excited about this kid!

08-09-2011, 10:49 PM
Pittsburgh rookie Cam Heyward winning over vets with humble attitude

By Associated Press
Tuesday, August 9


LATROBE, Pa. — Ziggy Hood heard the name, knew the pedigree and wondered exactly what the Pittsburgh Steelers were getting into when they chose defensive lineman Cameron Heyward with the 31st pick in the NFL draft.

A first-round pick from Ohio State whose father Craig is a Steel City legend following his career at Pitt? That could lead to a combustible mix of ego and privilege, right?

“It’s the recipe for it,” Hood said.

Just not with Heyward.

The rookie doesn’t really do ego. He doesn’t do privilege either. Instead, you’ll find him doing the things that rookies — even first-round picks — are supposed to do during a first training camp. If he’s not carrying the pads of a veteran teammate off the field following practice then he’s picking up the tab for the defensive line’s late-night snacks.

“He’s a rookie, and he acts like a rookie,” said defensive tackle Casey Hampton. “That’s a major thing. You kind of probably wouldn’t think that from his background but obviously his father and his mama did a great job of keeping him grounded.”

Heyward didn’t really have a choice. His father, Craig, mother Charlotte and older brothers Craig Jr. and Corey made sure Heyward knew his place.

It proved to be good preparation for life in the NFL. While confident in his abilities, Heyward doesn’t carry himself with a sense of entitlement. Good thing, because that wouldn’t go over well on a line littered with Pro Bowlers in a city where work ethic is the only currency that matters.

“He came in here, has put his hand in the dirt and was ready to work,” said defensive end Brett Keisel.

Playing in defensive coordinator D!ck LeBeau’s intricate 3-4 defense is tough for a newcomer. Hood struggled with it. So did Keisel, Chris Hoke and Aaron Smith.

Yet Heyward has hung in there. Hood believes the 6-foot-5, 288-pound Heyward is farther along than Hood was as a rookie two years ago despite not having the luxury of going through mini-camp and Organized Team Activities due to the NFL lockout.

Heyward swears there’s no secret to his relatively quick adaptation. He stayed in shape waiting for the lockout to end and has immersed himself in the weight and video rooms trying to get up to speed.

“He’s not believing his own hype, that’s the main thing,” Hood said. “He’s a first rounder. He knows it. Everybody knows it but he’s not into that. He’s a young guy coming here trying to learn. He’s hanging around us older guys, we’re trying to show him correct ways on how to do things.”

It helps to be as athletic as Heyward. Where his father — who starred at Pitt in the 1980s before carving out an 11-year NFL career playing for five teams — was short (5-11) and thick (260 pounds), Heyward is nimble and light on his feet for his size.

While he’s hardly small, Heyward just laughs when asked if it’s as big as his father’s, who was dubbed “Ironhead” because of his head’s massive size and his penchant for lowering it into a defender’s chest.

Still, his teammates have been impressed with what’s going on between Heyward’s ears. His intelligence is one of the reasons the Steelers grabbed him at the end of the first round as one of the building blocks for the future.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/re ... story.html (http://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/redskins/pittsburgh-rookie-cam-heyward-winning-over-vets-with-humble-attitude/2011/08/09/gIQAzyl34I_story.html)

08-17-2011, 12:40 AM
Steelers DE Heyward brings intensity to field
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... 51930.html (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_751930.html)

His face streaked with sweat, defensive end Cameron Heyward put down the helmet and shoulder pads he has been carrying as part of his rookie indoctrination.

Asked to put a wrap on his first NFL training camp — and one of the stranger ones of the 46 that the Steelers have staged at St. Vincent College — Heyward instead offered a correction.

"It's not over yet," he said late Tuesday afternoon. "We've got one more day."

The Steelers will indeed practice one more time before leaving Latrobe. And while Wednesday's drills are closed, it is pretty safe to say that Heyward will wring everything he can out of them.

His relentlessness is one of the things that stood out during the camp that lasted nearly three weeks. Heyward's all-out playing style landed him in practice scuffles on consecutive days this week. It also led to a sitdown with some of the Steelers' offensive linemen.

They talked to Heyward about stopping when the whistle blows during lineman-on-lineman drills, although starting left tackle Jonathan Scott said it was no big deal.

"It's just the intensity of playing football," Scott said. "He definitely goes hard every play and shows that fire. Cam's a good guy. The scuffles we may have had in practice, I left it there on the practice field."

Heyward scrapped with Scott on Sunday and guard Ramon Foster the next day.

"Sometimes our egos get the best of us, and we're just trying to compete," Heyward said.

If Heyward seemed hesitant to talk about his exchanges with some of the offensive linemen, chatty free safety Ryan Clark didn't hold back.

At one point during practice yesterday, Clark chirped at the linemen about Heyward simply playing hard. Afterwards, Clark said Heyward is "far ahead" of where he expected the former Ohio State star to be after the NFL lockout wiped out all offseason practices.

"The biggest thing is he knows how to work," Clark said, "a first-rounder who comes in here and not resting on his draft pick and says 'I want to be a part of this team and I want to contribute early.' "

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin does not have to cringe about a veteran lavishing praise on a rookie for a simple season: it won't get within six zip codes of Heyward's head.

Consider his assessment of his play in the Steelers' 16-7 loss to the Washington Redskins last Friday.

"I thought the first time out there I did terrible and I've got a lot to prove," Heyward said.

Never mind that the 6-5, 285-pounder made three tackles and looked anything but overwhelmed in his first NFL game.

"He's tough on himself, but any good player is," said starting defensive end Brett Keisel, whom Heyward is backing up. "They're harder on themselves than any coach can be. If he keeps working the way he's been working, he's going to be a great player."

Effort won't be an issue as Heyward tries to reach the lofty expectations that come with being a first-round draft pick.

"He plays hard," Scott said. "It's definitely going to pay off for us."

The question is when.

It generally takes an end three seasons to get a firm grasp of the position in the Steelers' complex defense. That is due, in part, to the different techniques that have to be mastered.

Keisel played in five games as a rookie in 2002 and didn't record a tackle. Aaron Smith, the best 3-4 defensive end in Steelers history, played in six games as a rookie in 1999.

He was credited with one assisted tackle.

A steep learning curve may be why Heyward merely sees himself as a work in progress.

But because it is looking more likely that Heyward will contribute as a rookie, perhaps he should start with himself when it comes to the lighten-up department.

"If you're not hard on yourself, you're not doing anything," Heyward said. "I've got a goal in mind, and I'm going to keep working toward it."

Read more: Steelers DE Heyward brings intensity to field - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsbu ... z1VG2w41Wf (http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_751930.html#ixzz1VG2w41Wf)

08-17-2011, 08:11 AM
I'm kind of surprised (pleasantly) that Heyward dropped to the Steelers at 1.31 in the draft. If teams in need of defensive linemen 3-4 or otherwise would have taken the time to talk to this kid you have to be impressed. He's going to be around for a long time in Black and Gold barring catastrophic injury of course.


08-17-2011, 08:28 AM
I'm kind of surprised (pleasantly) that Heyward dropped to the Steelers at 1.31 in the draft. If teams in need of defensive linemen 3-4 or otherwise would have taken the time to talk to this kid you have to be impressed. He's going to be around for a long time in Black and Gold barring catastrophic injury of course.


Combined with Ziggy, Heyward is going to be very good. IMO Ziggy and Heyward are much more explosive players than Smith and Kiesel (both of whom I think are great) and they may be able to do things to help get after the QB that would greatly help our pass rushing LBs.

08-17-2011, 10:43 AM
I'm kind of surprised (pleasantly) that Heyward dropped to the Steelers at 1.31 in the draft. If teams in need of defensive linemen 3-4 or otherwise would have taken the time to talk to this kid you have to be impressed. He's going to be around for a long time in Black and Gold barring catastrophic injury of course.



After what happened to Batch, it's always good to qualify!

08-17-2011, 10:54 AM
Really excited to see this guy tomorrow night, still looks funny for a big man to be in that "95". He should complete the deal and bring back the Lloyd facemask too...I loved the look of that thing.

08-27-2011, 02:49 PM
On the Steelers: Heyward becomes a No. 1 hit

First-round draft pick made a strong first impression while earning praise and respect

Saturday, August 27, 2011
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


Rookie defensive end Cameron Heyward has turned heads early this season.

When he was 8 years old, Cameron Heyward moved with his family from Monroeville to the Atlanta suburbs because his father -- the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward -- was a running back for the Falcons. Heyward's mother, Charlotte, and brothers, Corey and Connor, still live there.

Now Heyward has the unique distinction of playing for one hometown team and trying to stop the other when the Steelers (1-1) play their third preseason game tonight against the Atlanta Falcons (0-2) at Heinz Field.

Unlike most of the rookies, Heyward, the team's No. 1 draft choice, doesn't have to worry about impressing his coaches or teammates. He has done that almost from the time he arrived for training camp at Saint Vincent College, even though Heyward has been overly critical of his performance in the first two preseason games.

"He's going to be a good player, a really good player," said defensive end Brett Keisel, who plays ahead of Heyward on the right side of the three-man line. "The thing that impresses me the most is his work ethic. You always want to see guys with a first-round grade show why coaches and scouts gave him that grade.

"And he's certainly deserving of it."

Keisel said that is why Heyward (6 feet 5, 295) got into several scuffles at training camp with offensive linemen -- because veteran players want to test a rookie, especially the 31st overall pick in the draft. Heyward never backed down.

"I basically told him, don't let anyone do that to you," Keisel said.

"Stand up for yourself. You don't have to get in a big brawl, but make sure the play is clean and, if it's not clean, don't be cool about it. It's OK to get upset. You don't need it to be a big distraction, but hold your own ground."

Despite what he says, Heyward is better than anyone expected at this stage. He is ahead of where Ziggy Hood was as a rookie No. 1 in 2009, in part because Ohio State used some of the same defensive schemes employed by alum D!ck LeBeau. And he likely will play more than the cursory snaps Hood received as a rookie.

Defensive line coach John Mitchell, a discerning critic in his own right, said it is easy to see Heyward's natural strength, agility and athleticism. But what might not be easy to see is how Heyward is almost never knocked off his feet -- a rarity for a rookie.

"We're just now getting into the intricacies of the playbook, and it's getting stacked on, but would I say he can come in and help us this year? I would," Keisel said. "I think he has the ability to be able to come in and give us some blows and get some good playing time."

A showcase for Dixon?

Ben Roethlisberger and Byron Leftwich will get most of the snaps against the Falcons, with Roethlisberger scheduled to play the entire first half and Leftwich coming on in the third quarter.

It is unlikely veteran Charlie Batch will play much, if at all, because the Steelers want to use Dennis Dixon -- possibly to showcase their fourth-year quarterback in an attempt to trade him before the final cutdown.

All three backup quarterbacks will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the year, and Leftwich appears content to remain with the team as the top backup to Roethlisberger.

But Dixon wants to go to a team where he has a chance to play -- or, at the very least, be a No. 2 quarterback. So it is unlikely he will re-sign with the Steelers after the 2011 season.

Unless there is an injury before the final cut, expect Batch, not Dixon, to be the team's No. 3 quarterback this season.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11239/11 ... z1WFSukV4Z (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11239/1170286-66-0.stm#ixzz1WFSukV4Z)