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Cam Heyward Takes Bigger Role with NFLPA



Pittsburgh Steelers DL Cam Heyward

In February, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward won the NFL’s most prestigious honor, earning the lifetime achievement award that is the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year. Heyward was a finalist six times before winning the award. The 34-year-old veteran defensive tackle has been a boon in the Pittsburgh community during his 13 years as a Steeler, always giving back and lending a helping hand.

On Friday, Heyward was honored with a renowned position that exhibits his leadership. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk passed along that Heyward is a new member of the NFL Players Association’s Executive Committee. He joins New York Jets long snapper Thomas Hennessy (who also is the treasurer), San Francisco 49ers linebacker Oren Burks and Houston Texans quarterback Case Keenum as new members on the committee.

Exiting the committee are Alex Mack, Jason McCourty, and Richard Sherman. The other members of the Executive Committee are Calais Campbell, Austin Ekeler, Ryan Kelly, Brandon McManus, Thomas Morstead, and Michael Thomas. Detroit Lions linebacker Jaylen Reeves-Maybin is the NFLPA’s new president, replacing former Cleveland Browns center J.C. Tretter.

According to the NFLPA, the Executive Committee manages and transacts the business and affairs of the NFLPA between meetings of the Board of Player Representatives.

Heyward, who turns 35 in May, has just one year left on his deal, and it’s a pricy year for the Steelers to absorb. His cap hit will reach over $22 million (according to Over the Cap), but an extension could lower that.

However, another idea has been for him to take a pay cut. Heyward doesn’t plan on doing that, though.

“I bust my butt in rehab, doing everything,” Heyward said on his Not Just Football podcast in January. “I got to let things calm down. Screw the people who keep talking about me getting a pay cut.”

Heyward had a procedure done related to his groin this offseason.

Throughout the season, the groin injury plagued him, even after returning. Heyward has discussed the injury he suffered at the 49ers at length. First, he stated that he had micro tears dating back to training camp, and they tried to rest it. But when he played against the 49ers, he tore the muscle off the bone, requiring surgery. At some point, while trying to compensate for it, he injured his other groin, too. Heyward should have missed 12 weeks after his surgery, but powered back far quicker than that.

Heyward said that in addition to surgery during the season and the new groin injury, he had a knee issue that kept him from practicing fully throughout almost the entire season after his return.

“I had my groin, then overcompensating with my other groin,” he said. “There was stuff on top of that, like my knee. It was a grind just to get ready for each game. It wasn’t by choice that I didn’t want to practice. It was ‘get me to the game.’ I don’t like that doing that. I don’t like playing football that way. I don’t ever want to cheat the game. I don’t ever want to think I’m not going to be 100%. But that was the cards I was dealt this year. It was a lot.”