He’s far from alone but NFL Network analyst Brian Baldinger is a big fan of the Heywards. All of them. The late Craig “Ironhead,” a bruising back who spent eleven years in the league. Cam Heyward, one of the game’s most consistent players and best professionals. And Connor, the youngster making his way into the league.
Baldinger joined the In The Huddle podcast yesterday to discuss the Heywards and what the football family has accomplished.
“If you want to be a Steeler, you gotta have [toughness],” Baldinger said. “To see Cam Heyward out there, of course the son of Ironhead…Ironhead had that. He was one of the great characters and players of the game. Cam brings that. His father’s spirit.”
Ironhead played his college ball at Pitt, becoming a first round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1988. A runner and receiver, he carved out a niche in the league and ended his career with 34 total touchdowns, 30 rushing and four receiving. Decades later, Cam became a first round pick, so far spending his entire time with the Steelers and becoming one of the best defensive linemen in franchise history, no small feat. He represents the Steelers’ mentality. Tough and physical on the field, a leader and community member off it. Even at 34, he shows no signs of slowing down.
Connor was drafted by Pittsburgh in the sixth round last season and made an impact on special teams and late in the year, on offense. Baldinger thinks his role will grow in 2023.
“His brother brings it now. I think Connor’s going to breakout this year in a real role. Because he can do a variety of things.”
Heyward, like his father, can run and catch and will block a bit as a tight end/fullback hybrid. He’ll also serve as a multi-phase special teamer just as he did as a rookie. He won’t be a focal point of Pittsburgh’s offense but should have a versatile role. He’s a strong fit for Matt Canada’s system.
Catch the whole conversation in the link below.