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More than Football: Cam Heyward on Retirement of Friend Stephon Tuitt



Steelers Tuitt Heyward

One week ago, Steelers captain Cam Heyward was confident that Stephon Tuitt would return to the Pittsburgh Steelers. That didn’t happen, as Tuitt announced his retirement on Wednesday, leaving Heyward and the Steelers after eight years. Heyward said he spoke with Tuitt and he doesn’t hold anything against his  teammate and friend for making the decision that he made, even if he wishes that he had another season to line up next to No. 91.

“He told me it was 50-50,” Heyward said. “I think we can all agree, what he’s been through is not easy and every day, it’s a different battle. So, I think he just thinks the best thing for him and his family was to go through retirement. … I can’t be mad at a guy for not wanting to come back. It’s unfortunate. I’ll look like a liar, I don’t give a damn. But man, I would’ve loved to have him back.”

On the whole, though, Heyward chose to reflect more about his longtime friend than about what Tuitt’s decision means for the team going forward.

“I’ve known Tuitt since before he was even drafted,” Heyward said. “He was with my other brother [Corey] playing basketball and he was the kid just on his little Game Boy in the back very quiet. We always joke about how he was going on basketball trips for football. He really came out of his shell. To see the type of man, the type of teammate that he was. I was able to rely on him so much. We did a lot of special things. Obviously, we didn’t go to the Super Bowl together. But we created a lot of havoc and had a lot of fun doing it. We got to watch our kids become friends. Our wives are pretty close. Those are the things I appreciate and the things that aren’t going to stop now.

“He’s still Stephon. He’s still happy go lucky, loves to have a good time, wears his heart on his sleeve. I just like to say I’m proud of him for graduating. That was something that was really big and monumental in his life, something that he could look back on. He had to go to class every single day like Jerome, and I know they both hated it. But it’s something that he is very proud of. … I’m just excited to see what else is in store for him.”