The Steelers already boast the Watt’s as a set of brothers on their roster. With the recent drafting of Connor Heyward, the Steelers have another set of brothers. Connor will be playing tight end and fullback for the Steelers, while his brother Cameron is a defensive tackle.
Craig Heyward the Father
The Heywards have a long history of football in Steel City. Their father, Craig, attended the University of Pittsburgh for three years. In 1987, Craig “Ironhead” Heyward rushed for 1,791 yards in a season (1987 NCAA record) in which Pitt made their first bowl game in four years. The Panthers also had big wins against No. 4 Notre Dame and No. 15 Penn State that year.
Craig’s efforts earned him consensus All-America honors and he finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting. Craig Heyward was drafted in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Saints. Craig played in 11 seasons in the NFL and made the 1995 Pro Bowl with the Falcons. Sadly, Craig Heyward never got to see his sons fulfill their destiny in professional football. On May 27, 2006, at only the age of 39, Craig developed a cancerous tumor that metastasized to his brain and he died.
Although Craig never got to see his children shine in professional football, the Heyward legacy continues. Cam Heyward was a star at Ohio State and was drafted by the Steelers in 2011. Cam wasn’t an immediate impact player with an already touted Steelers defense, but his time would come. From 2017 through 2021, Cam made it to the Pro Bowl in all five years. In 2017, 2019, and 2021, he was First-team All-Pro.
Connor Heyward is 10 years younger than Cam and didn’t get the same attention out of high school. Ohio State refused to give Connor an offer and he decided to go commit to Big Ten East rival Michigan State. Connor got his big moment in the 2021 Peach Bowl. Michigan State was trailing 21-10 to Pitt in the 4th quarter. On 3rd & Goal at the Pitt 15, Connor caught a leaping pass for the touchdown. The touchdown sparked the momentum for Michigan State’s eventual comeback to win 31-21.
Future in Pittsburgh
Connor Heyward was drafted to the Steelers in the 6th round as the 208th overall pick. He will still have to battle for a spot on the 53-man roster. Connor’s positions are tight end and fullback. Oddly enough, Connor has similar skill sets to Derek Watt. Pat Freiermuth and Zach Gentry are the top two tight ends that have the best shot to seal a position on the roster. Connor Heyward will compete against Kevin Rader and Jace Sternberger for another spot.
The Steelers already have Najee Harris as the undisputed starter in the rushing attack. Anthony McFarland Jr. and Benny Snell Jr. fall into the next two spots. It’s usually foolish for teams to roster more than two fullbacks and Derek Watt has been the Steeler’s fullback for the past two years. Connor Heyward either needs to beat out the competition or find another way on the final roster.