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Mike Tomlin Clarifies Cam Heyward’s Status for 2023



Steelers DT Cam Heyward

PITTSBURGH —  Pittsburgh Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward made some comments after the team’s 2022 regular season ended on Sunday that made it seem like there’s a chance he may not be back for the 2023 season.

But head coach Mike Tomlin cleared that up on Monday, explaining that Heyward is the type of person that isn’t going to take anything for granted, even with his status as one of the top players on the Pittsburgh defense.

“I wanna take time to think about what’s going on,” Heyward said after the win over the Browns on Sunday. “I’d love to be here but you never know what’s going on in the future. I don’t take this for granted. I’d love to be here, but you don’t know the plans. … You never know if they want me back or not. I don’t take that for granted.”

Heyward is under contract through the end of the 2024 season, and is set to count for $20 million against the salary cap in each of the next two seasons. He’s been playing some of his best football lately, with 20.5 sacks over the last two seasons. 

Despite the fact that he’ll be 34 next season, Hayward hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. Of his top five season, per Pro Football Focus, four have been the last four years. He hasn’t missed a game due to injury since 2016.

But those years have taught him not take anything for granted.

“It’s the NFL: ‘Not for long,’” Heyward said. “I want to be back. I would like to be a PGH Steeler still. But you don’t know what’s going on in the future … I’d like to be back, but you just don’t know. This game is always changing.”

Tomlin said on Monday that’s a credit to the kind of person that Heyward is, while throwing some cold water on the notion that he might not be back in 2023.

“Cam is the same type of guy that will put a tape job with his last name on it in a training camp-like setting,” Tomlin said. “That’s what makes him who he is. He takes none of this for granted and (his comments were) just an expression of that. … He is special because he has a special approach, because he is legitimately humble and hard-working, and he takes none of this for granted. So that’s probably what that was.”

RELATED: Scoring change moves Cam Heyward past T.J. Watt on Steelers sack list.

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