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Cam Heyward Takes Aim at Doubters: ‘I Look Forward to Reminding Y’all’

Pittsburgh Steelers DT Cam Heyward has a message for those that doubt he can return to form at 35 years old, after an injury-filled 2023.



Pittsburgh Steelers DT Cam Heyward
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle and team captain Cam Heyward runs out of the tunnel for a game against the Cincinnati Bengals on Dec. 23, 2023. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers captain and defensive stalwart Cam Heyward took aim at those doubting his ability to return from an injury-filled 2023 season in a pair of social media posts on Friday night.

Heyward, who will turn 35 in May, missed his first serious playing time since 2016 last season, when he suffered a series of maladies that held him to 11 games. Heyward suffered a torn groin the season opener against the San Francisco 49ers, and also required core muscle surgery while having his groin repaired.

Heyward was expected to miss 12 weeks after the surgery, but missed just seven, returning in Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. Heyward was far from 100% when he got back on the field, and injured his other groin while compensating for the surgically repaired one.

Steelers Cam Heyward

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cam Heyward walks off with an injury against the San Francisco 49ers on Sept. 10, 2023. — Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Despite that, he played in each of the final 10 games, finishing with 33 tackles, six tackles for loss, two sacks, three quarterback hits and one pass defended. It was a significant statistical downturn for the six-time Pro Bowler, but he ended up finishing with just 10 fewer tackles than his defensive line running mate, Larry Ogunjobi, who played all 17 games.

The injury-plagued year, combined with an elevate salary cap hit in the final season of his contract in 2024, has led to calls for some for Heyward to either step aside or take a pay cut.

That prompted Heyward to lash out earlier this offseason on his Not Just Football Podcast.

“I bust my butt in rehab, doing everything,” Heyward said. “Screw the people who keep talking about me getting a pay cut.”

Heyward said the “couch GM’s” calling for him to retire would have the Steelers signing 15 different quarterbacks, and that they’ve forgotten how well he can play when he’s healthy.

“The couch GM’s are out!!!,” he wrote on X. “If they have it their way [I’ll] retire and we will have 15 different QBs. Man you gotta love Steeler fans for the passion. …

“Funny how you get hurt and kill yourself just to get back to play and not be 100 percent. Now they want you to retire cuz I was hurt all year At least I know where y’all stand.”

Heyward said in the immediate aftermath of the season that he wasn’t ready to commit to playing in the 2024 season, which will be his 14th season with the Steelers in the NFL.

Since then, he has said he’s not retiring, and now after winning the 2023 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award and having surgery to clear up the last of his 2023 injuries, he seems even more fired up than ever to get back on the field.

“Y’all quick to forget when I am healthy. … But I look forward to reminding y’all.”