The Pittsburgh Steelers now have four sets of brothers on their roster. Khaili, and Carlos Davis, Terrell and Trey Edmunds, Derek and TJ Watt, and now Cam and Connor Heyward. I can’t say for certain, but I believe that’s an NFL record for brothers, or relatives on a single team in the NFL.
All of these brothers boast different levels of NFL name recognition. The Davis’ are late round draft selections still trying to find their way, while the Watt brothers are established NFL veterans. Terrell Edmunds was a former first round pick, and his brother Trey has been on the Steelers roster bubble for 3 years now often being released or stuck on the practice squad.
Now Cam Heyward was a first round pick for the Steelers. He’s been here for 11 years already, and his younger brother comes by way of the 6th round without a certain position definition. With that will be different struggles than his big brother had, but he doesn’t want any favoritism because of his last name.
No, I know I have to come in here and earn it,” Connor Heyward said after his first practice. “It’s cool that he’s my brother and everything, but I don’t want people to be like, ‘he’s here because his brother’. So I have a chip on my shoulder even more. I had a chip on my shoulder at Michigan State. I switched positions. A lot of people said ‘he’s not going to be able to do this’. I shut them up. So I’m going to come here, go to work, lock in, do what I have to do. He’s my brother. It’s cool. But this is football. This is what I’ve been doing my whole life. He’s been my brother my whole life. But it’s not about my brother. It’s about the team. He’s a great leader, great captain, and I know he can hold me to high standards.
There is room for Heyward on the Steelers roster, but it’s going to take a lot of work for him to make it coming out of training camp. He will likely be entrenched in a battle with Derek Watt on special teams, and it could possibly come down to the two of them for the roster spot. If the Steelers stay true to what they’ve said though, and do want Heyward to play tight end then the battle would arrive with tight end Kevin Rader. Rader is mostly a blocking tight end that has mainly been on the Steelers practice squad the past few years. But with Eric Ebron leaving town the Steelers need a third tight end.
If you think back to the role that former tight end David Johnson, or fullback Will Johnson played — that is the type of role that Heyward ultimately fits into. He’s never going to be confused with Pat Frieremuth, but he still can bump out on pass plays and catch the ball. On running plays the Steelers loved to use David Johnson as the extra blocker. He could shift from the back field to the line, or vice versa, but he could play different roles.
Heyward did receive the vaunted #83. A tight end number. And one that a legend used to wear.
“He’s a legend here,” Heyward said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if his jersey is retired at any time. He was a really good player, a really good person in the community here. Best tight end in Steelers history. I know wearing this, I’m going to have high expectations. But I like having high expectations. I’ve had pressure my whole life, I’ve accepted it.
Heyward will surely make Heath Miller proud.
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