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Connor Heyward Gets Storybook First NFL TD in Hometown of Atlanta



Steelers Preseason TE Connor Heyward

Steelers rookie Connor Heyward getting his first career touchdown in Atlanta against the Falcons on Sunday had something of a storybook feel to it.

The wide-open 17-yard grab by the Duluth, Georgia native was Pittsburgh’s first touchdown of the day against Atlanta after settling for a pair of field goals on earlier marches. But, the score also happened to come in the same city where his father — former University of Pittsburgh fullback Craig “Ironhead” Heyward — played for three years and made his only Pro Bowl.

Connor, the younger brother of Steelers defensive captain Cam Heyward, posted a photo on Instagram at his father’s gravesite Saturday. Craig died in May 2006, at age 39, after a cancerous tumor metastasized to his brain.

He spent 11 seasons in the NFL after being drafted 24th overall by New Orleans in the 1988 NFL Draft. He also played for Chicago, St. Louis, and Indianapolis.

The Heyward family has roots in both Pittsburgh and Atlanta. Craig met his wife, Charlotte, while playing at Pitt. He played in Atlanta from 1994-96 and rumbled for a career-high 1,083 yards in his second season with the Falcons. Connor was six years old during that campaign.

Connor first professional score comes in the same stadium where he played his last collegiate game at Michigan State. He also happened to notch his last touchdown with the Spartans in the same end zone where he caught the pass Sunday.

Connor registered five catches for 37 yards and the aforementioned fourth-quarter touchdown catch in that Peach Bowl game, defeating Kenny Pickett’s Pitt Panthers. Pickett didn’t play in that game, however, having opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft.

Although he hasn’t been a large part of the Steelers’ attack, Connor has waited patiently for such a moment. It couldn’t have come at a better time, in front of plenty of family and friends in an area that means a lot to him.


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