The Pittsburgh Steelers announced defensive end Cam Heyward as their nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award on Tuesday.
.@CamHeyward is our nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, presented by @Nationwide.— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) December 7, 2021
RETWEET & reply with “#WPMOYChallenge Heyward” to help him earn a $25,000 contribution to the charity of his choice. #WPMOY
📝: https://t.co/n07CmHpLGz pic.twitter.com/piBTqahkqu
The honor is bestowed annually to a player who not only excels on the field, but also with their service in their community.
This is the fourth time Heyward has been nominated for the league’s most prestigious award.
Not only does Heyward give back through his foundation The Heyward House, but he also started the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Program in 2020, which helps promote reading in underserved communities.
“It’s really important to give back,” Heyward told Steelers.com. “A lot of people out there need our help. I will always continue to give back. I always want to make sure I can help people succeed and this gives me an opportunity to do that.”
Additionally, Heyward works alongside The Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation, Blessings in a Backpack and the Boys and Girls Club.
“What he does on the field, everybody knows. What he does off the field is more important. It doesn’t get noticed enough,” Charlotte Heyward, Cam’s mother and the executive director of The Heyward House, told Steelers.com. “He doesn’t say no. Every once in a while, I will have a suggestion and he will say, mom, slow down. He just wants to give back as much as I do. It’s a blessing to be where he was born, here in Pittsburgh, where I was born, and to be able to give back to the community.”
Past Steelers to win the award include Jerome Bettis, Lynn Swann, “Mean” Joe Greene and Franco Harris.
This year’s winner will be announced during the NFL Honors ceremony, a primetime special on ABC that airs annually the Thursday prior to the Super Bowl.
Heyward is in the midst of another All-Pro-caliber season for the Steelers. He has 61 total tackles, ten tackles-for-loss, 6.5 sacks and an interception this season.
He has been selected to four consecutive Pro Bowls and named a First-Team All-Pro twice.