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Minkah Fitzpatrick Responds after Top 100 Snub

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When CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco released his annual list of the top 100 players in the NFL on Wednesday, fans quickly noticed one big name was missing.

Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick — a first-team All-Pro selection in 2019 — was surprisingly left off the list, which threw fans into a frenzy on social media.

Prisco doubled down on his decision to leave Fitzpatrick off on CBS Sports HQ yesterday, forcing the Pro Bowler to respond.

Prisco cited Fitzpatrick’s performance in the team’s October 13 win over the Los Angeles Chargers — a game the Steelers won — as his reasoning for the snub. Fitzpatrick intercepted four passes and recovered a fumble over the next three games, all victories.

Fitzpatrick was not the only one irked by his abscess from the list, as fans and Steelers players also expressed their displeasure, including defensive end Cam Heyward.

Fitzpatrick made an immediately impact on a Steelers defense that was in desperate need of a playmaker when he came over from the Miami Dolphins.

Prior to Fitzpatrick, the Steelers were allowing 320 passing yards per game in 2019. After adding him, they allowed just 176.7 passing yards a game.

The Steelers also led the league with 38 takeaways last seasons. Fitzpatrick alone forced ten.

Fitzpatrick was not the only prominent Steeler to be left off the list, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was also not included. Still, Roethlisberger is coming off a season-ending injury, while Fitzpatrick was recognized as one of the league’s best safeties.

Four Steelers did find themselves among the league’s top 100 players. Outside linebacker T.J. Watt was the highest rated Steeler coming in at No. 16.

Other notable Steelers on the list include Heyward at No. 33, outside linebacker Bud Dupree at No. 60 and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster coming in at No. 84.

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Steelers

Steelers Honor 2020 Graduates at Heinz Field

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The Pittsburgh Steelers are showing love to the 2020 graduates that had their senior years cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team honored this year’s graduating class by displaying a congratulatory message on the scoreboard at Heinz Field Friday night.

A few current and former Steelers players also voiced their support on social media, including running back James Conner, defensive end Cam Heyward and retired defensive end Brett Keisel.

“Keep focused, keep chasing your dreams,” Conner said. “I know 2020’s been a wild year, but just stay focused, stay locked in. I know you guys are all going to go and accomplish great things.”

Students across the Pittsburgh area have been forced to finish the school year from home, and have unfortunately had to miss out on some of life’s biggest milestones, such as prom and graduation day.

It’s great to see the Steelers doing their part to make students feel celebrated and recognized.

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Steelers

Cam Heyward Discusses Philanthropic Work, Father’s Legacy and Mike Tomlin

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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward joined The V Foundation’s “Voices for Victory” podcast to discuss growing up with an NFL father, the inspiration of his philanthropic efforts and playing for head coach Mike Tomlin.

His father, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, played eleven seasons in the NFL as a running back and fullback, rushing for 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns and was recently inducted into the Pitt Hall of Fame.

The elder Heyward’s career was unfortunately cut short in 1998 when he was diagnosed with cancer, the disease that would tragically take his life eight years later.

Cam discussed what it was like growing up with an NFL player for a dad, and some of his fondest memories of his father growing up.

“I always get to hear about the stories, and about the interactions he has with people at Children’s Hospital, or just everyday people,” Heyward said. “He did a great job of always having moments with people. And always making people remember those times.”

Cam went on to say that in addition to being inspired by former Steelers teammates to give, it was the experience he shared with his father battling cancer that truly moved him to become a hero in the community.

“I always knew I wanted to give back to kids, and also to cancer research just because I was a kid, and I was always in the hospital as a kid,” he said. “I had great doctors and nurses that helped me along the way. And cancer research just because my dad has been affected by that, and on a regular day, my dad would visit other patients and just interact with them.”

The nine-year veteran also offered words of advice to kids that may have a parent battling cancer just like he did.

“I just tell people rely on your support system, and make sure you listen, because from an exterior point of view, they’re going to have a lot more to say and see why you’re going through.”

Cam also spoke about what it is like playing for Mike Tomlin, and the qualities that he believes make him a great leader.

“In adverse situations, he’s very steady. I don’t think he, he’s not looking to throw the whole playbook out and completely change the way we play,” he said. “As a leader, you have to be able to set a precedent and make sure the guys can rally around you.

“And I think the other thing he does is he’s consistent with that. From the beginning of offseason to the end of the season, he has preached the same message. And I think that resonates with a lot of older guys and younger guys, because that consistency can be brought through anywhere in our organization, in our staff, through each player. They know what’s expected of them, he challenges us and he’s honest with us as well.”

Selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Heyward is entering his tenth season in Pittsburgh. His 79 tackles-for-loss are the fourth-most in franchise history.

Heyward has made the Pro Bowl each of the last three seasons, and has been named First-Team All-Pro twice over his career, including in 2019.

Founded in 1993 by ESPN and legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano, the V Foundation has awarded more than $250 million in grants and has “become one of the premier supporters of cutting-edge cancer research.”

Listen to the V Foundation’s entire interview with Cam Heyward here.

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Steelers

Steelers Can Practice, Play in ‘Yellow’ and ‘Green’ Phases

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, who recently voiced his concerns over not getting practice time, especially with rookies, may be getting his wish.

This afternoon, Governor Tom Wolf released a proposal that would allow professional sports teams to practice or play in the “yellow” and “green” phases without “on-site or venue spectators” as long as they have a coronavirus safety plan.

Before the Steelers can get to work, the plan must first be approved by the state Health Department and include testing or screening and monitoring of all players and personnel.

In this plan, no fans or spectators would be permitted on interior or exterior venue property.

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