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Steelers Connor Heyward Wants to be Known as More Than Cam’s Brother

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Steelers Rookie TE Connor Heyward

PITTSBURGH — A family reunion in the football locker room is a popular thing for the Steelers. The Heyward brothers, Connor and Cam, are just one of four pairs of siblings on the Steelers’ team, joining the Watt, Davi, and Edmunds brothers on the team. However, when a draft pick is used on the brother of the superstar pass rusher, there will be questions that fly from the public spectrum.

Connor Heyward has heard all of the noise coming out of the public sphere in recent weeks since he was selected in the sixth round. While he appreciates all that Cam Heyward has done for him and he is certainly happy he is on the Steelers with him, there is more to it than that. The younger Heyward wants to carve out his own path, role, and prove that he is more than just a familial tie-in pick by the Steelers. Not only that, but he does not feel that he has any leg up on anyone else just because he is Cam’s brother.

“Listen, I have to come in here and earn it,” Connor Heyward said at rookie minicamp. “I’m glad that he’s my brother and everything, but I don’t want people to think it’s easier just because he’s my brother. I have a chip on my shoulder even more. I had a chip on my shoulder at Michigan State. When I had to switch positions, people said I wasn’t going to be able to do this, and I shut them up. I’m going to come here, go to work, lock-in, and do what I have to do.”

The sons of Pitt legend and 10-year NFL veteran Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, the family and brothers know all too much about Pittsburgh. Their mother, Charlotte, grew up a Steelers fan and graduated from Carlow University. Cam has played in Pittsburgh for 11 years at this point. Connor is just another connection to the family puzzle in Pittsburgh. However, there is family, and then there is football. Connor is ready to let his work on the gridiron speak for itself.

“He’s my brother, it’s cool, but this is football,” Connor Heyward said. “This is what I’ve been doing my whole life. He’s been my brother my whole life, but this isn’t about my brother. This is about the team. Cam’s a great leader, a great captain, and I know he’s going to hold me to a high standard.”

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Connor is coming into camp with a chip on his shoulder. There is still lots of brotherly love between the two, though. When Connor was drafted, he did not even tell Cam who he was on the phone with. However, the brotherly connection of the Heyward may help on the football field. Connor is out to prove he belongs, and Cam is out to make sure that Connor learns the ropes about being a professional. It is there where the relationship can bear fruits. However, since it is their first time ever playing football together, there is a special feeling to it.

“I was just coming to grips that I was going to be one of the oldest guys on the team, now I have to play with my little brother,” Cam Heyward said. “I’ve never played with him and only watched him from afar. I can still remember one of the first basketball games of his I got to see when I was in college, and he fouled out. He was literally in tears. My brother is one of the most competitive people I know. He’s had to battle some adversity.”

The elder Cam, however, is ready to show the ropes to his younger brother. While Connor’s competitiveness will show itself through regardless, he will still need to be shown the ropes around the NFL. That is where Cam can come in and help out his younger brother through his rookie campaign.

“In the back of my head, I was like ‘I don’t know where he’s going to go,'” Cam Heyward said. “But no matter where he went if he works his tail off, he could be successful anywhere. Now that it’s finally happened and he’s a Pittsburgh Steeler, I hope I can teach him a few things.”

The Heyward brothers will likely be together for the first time on the field at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex at OTAs next week. Connor will need to work hard, as he is likely in a battle with Derek Watt for a roster spot.

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