Cam Heyward on Steelers’ playoffs, father, Ben Roethlisberger

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Five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro Steelers defensive deal with Cam Heyward takes a timeout for some playoff Q&A with Post columnist Steve Serby.

Q: What does it imply to be a Pittsburgh Steeler?

A: The custom that was set earlier than I used to be even right here … there’s a profitable tradition that goes together with it. But it’s a blue-collar metropolis that soccer, all people breathes it. And while you placed on that jersey, there’s a degree of honor and respect, and also you in the event you play on protection, you higher be able to hit … to be nice, be about profitable, and be about that tradition, as a result of that’s what Pittsburgh Steelers do.

Q: What drives you?

A: I feel rising up, all the time in my dad’s [Craig “Ironhead” Heyward] shadow, I wished to make my very own legacy, and I wished to ensure while you heard my title, it wasn’t simply the son of Craig Hayward, and I attempt to reside that. I strive to ensure I go away an enduring legacy in no matter I do. But as a person and a part of this NFL, one is to in the end win a Super Bowl. I can say I’ve by no means completed that, and I do know while you play for Pittsburgh, that’s what you’re judged about: Were you capable of get it completed in your crew? I view myself as a man who not solely needs to be acknowledged as one of many high guys in my place, however a man that I’d be prepared to do no matter it takes to win a championship.

Q: Do you consider your late father is happy with you at present?

A: I hope he’s happy with me. I attempted to not solely settle for what he laid out, being again within the metropolis that he spent 4 years in faculty and the remainder of my household the place my mom’s aspect is from, I’ve embraced that. And not solely do I attempt to be a very good soccer participant, I attempt to be a very good man. That means being an individual in the neighborhood, a frontrunner in the neighborhood. I wish to make certain I do my half. My mother and pop have been all the time large about giving again and serving to out others, and I perceive I’m in a blessed place to try this.

Q: What was it about your father that made you so happy with him?

A: It nonetheless makes me proud, as a result of he left lasting imprints on individuals. I hear so many various tales — good and unhealthy — however the truth that he may have a dialog with a child at Children’s Hospital to a man on the bar … all people all the time, all the time talked about their experiences with Ironhead. And my dad had the most important coronary heart. He cared for therefore many individuals and he put 110 p.c into something he did.

SteelersCam HeywardGetty Images

Q: Describe your on-field mentality.

A: I’m gonna provide you with 110 p.c. I’m a type of those who I’m not gonna accept something much less from others, however for me, I’ve to play with a variety of vitality and I’ve to set the tone.

Q: If you might choose the mind of any defensive linemen in NFL historical past, who would it not be?

A: Well, I already get to do that just a little bit, I get to speak to “Mean” Joe [Greene] every so often. I feel that’s the final word defensive lineman. Besides him, I’d say Reggie White.

Q: What is the perfect piece of recommendation Mean Joe ever gave you?

A: Just to be violent along with your arms. And it’s humorous when he mentioned it, as a result of I bear in mind when he shook my hand for the primary time, his hand virtually engulfed mine (chortle). That man’s arms are large. But there’s a degree of violence you need to play while you play defensive position. And he was all the time large about being the disruptor and with the ability to have an effect on the sport.

Q: Who is one quarterback in NFL historical past you want you might have sacked?

A: Surprisingly, I by no means received an opportunity to sack Peyton [Manning]. And I bear in mind my dad performed with Peyton Manning his rookie 12 months. I received an opportunity to fulfill Peyton after I was youthful, and once more after I performed within the league. That was in all probability one of many solely ones I missed out on sacking.

Q: Why does Pittsburgh love Ben Roethlisberger proper now?

A: Pittsburgh loves Ben Roethlisberger as a result of for the previous 18 years, this man has given two Super Bowls, and given his physique a beating attempting to ensure he performed for Pittsburgh. Not many individuals may maintain a profession like he has, taking all of the bumps and bruises and delivering these clutch two-minute drives on the finish of a recreation. He’s a type of Steeler legends that simply wants the ball in his arms.

SteelersCam Heyward tackles Justin HerbertAP

Q: What makes T.J. Watt, T.J. Watt?

A: I feel the factor that stands proud with T.J, his relentless strikes and his relentless simply effort. And his clutchness in the case of being a whole participant in these crucial moments. Numerous instances we’ve wanted him on these third downs, or he will get a strip-sack on the most opportune time. When you’ve a man like that that’s capable of rise as much as these events, it’s fairly particular.

Q: What makes Mike Tomlin, Mike Tomlin?

A: His consistency in his message in the truth that he’s capable of problem gamers individually and collectively. He will get probably the most out of his group.

Q: Describe Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes.

A: Man, lightning. In he could make lightning occur on each single play. He’s considered one of these individuals who’s electrical, and may throw the ball everywhere in the subject. They’re by no means actually out of a recreation. It’s an 11-man job to cease a man like that, after which nonetheless, 11 males can’t do the job.

Q: Describe former teammate Ryan Shazier.

A: A warrior.

Q: What was that second like on the sphere when he suffered his spinal contusion 4 years in the past?

A: It broke my coronary heart. To see, actually my brother, not capable of stand up, and laying there, it was a type of scenes I’ll always remember. But after that, to see him work, and inform me, “I’m gonna walk again,” was fairly particular.

Q: Former Jets and now Buccaneers nostril deal with Steve McLendon?

A: Underrated, however nice locker room man.

Q: Former Steelers linebacker James Harrison?

A: Powerful. That man by no means missed a exercise, I’ll say that. Unbelievable profession, as a result of nobody had even heard of James Harrison, and to be, proper now the Steelers’ all-time sack chief is without doubt one of the best issues on this planet. He’s received one of many best performs [100-yard pick-six in Super Bowl XLIII win over the Cardinals] in Super Bowl historical past.

Q: What was Antonio Brown like as a teammate?

A: You know, I didn’t have a variety of issues with Antonio Brown. It’s unlucky the best way it ended right here in Pittsburgh. I’d have cherished for him to stay a Pittsburgh Steeler all these years in the past.

Q: How about Le’Veon Bell?

A: Same factor. Those guys have been nice gamers for us. Won us a variety of video games, and are Steeler greats as a result of once they stepped on the sphere, there was in all probability no one stopping these two.

Q: You’ve had bronchial asthma since childhood.

A: It’s one thing I’ve needed to study to cope with. Early on, my mother used to inform me, “Don’t be a hero.” It’s not something to play with. I’m a type of guys who tends to push the boundaries and attempt to go onerous all the time, however it’s about studying my physique and understanding that I’d want a break, or I have to take my inhaler earlier than I am going on the market, or my nebulizer. As a child I used to be hospitalized generally, however I’ve discovered to cope with it and It’s not a crutch for me, it’s simply one thing that I needed to study to play with.

SteelersCameron Heyward makes a deal with. USA TODAY Sports

Q: Describe your grandmother.

A: She’s superior. She lives proper within the metropolis of Pittsburgh. She was a Steeler fan earlier than I used to be a Steeler, and she or he’s been sending me Steeler stuff since I used to be just a little child. But she was a trainer right here, and I like her to demise.

Q: How good a basketball participant have been you?

A: I cherished basketball rising up. I used to be gonna play in faculty [Ohio State] till we made it to the nationwide championship my freshman 12 months, after which I used to be exhausted after that, so I utterly shut that down after that.

Q: What’s meant extra to you: the Pro Bowl or the Walter Payton Man of the Year award?

A: Both have been two issues I’ve strived for on this league. Pro Bowls are superior. The actually cool factor is the Walter Payton Man of the Year as a result of what it stands for. It’s an award that represents a person that was nice on the sphere, however even higher off the sphere, and he cared about lots of people. And I need to have the ability to say that for my profession as properly.

Q: How lengthy do you wish to play?

A: As lengthy as my physique stays wholesome, and I’m capable of play at a excessive degree, I feel I can play rather a lot longer.

Q: Three dinner company?

A: LeBron [James], Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, my dad.

Q: Favorite films?

A: “Heavyweights” with Ben Stiller, “Cinderella Man.”

Q: Favorite actor?

A: Adam Sandler.

Q: Favorite actress?

A: Emma Stone.

Q: Favorite singer/entertainer?

A: Drake.

Q: Favorite meal?

A: Jambalaya.

Q: Why do Steelers followers journey so properly?

A: In the ’00s, the Steelers have been profitable all these championships and also you have been both a Steelers fan or a Cowboy fan … or a Raider fan. But, man, Steeler followers are throughout. It’s humorous, we received nothing however street video games left, and I simply really feel like Steelers followers relish these moments. They’re the perfect touring followers, they usually wish to be loud in every single place they go.

Q: How pumped up is your 6-year-old son Callen for this recreation?

A: My son is ecstatic. I instructed him I play with Najee Harris. I confirmed him an image of a Super Bowl trophy, he’s like, “You got a chance to win that?” I used to be like, “Yeah, but there’s a lot of work that goes behind it, and so you can’t overlook anybody.” My Don actually likes Najee and likes the best way he runs the ball, and I instructed him I do know Najee and he received all excited (chortle).

Q: Tell me about Najee.

A: An entire working again. And I don’t simply imply on the sphere. He’s a whole individual. He is smart past his years. He’s gonna be a terror on this league for nevertheless lengthy he needs to play. He’s received a very good head on his shoulders, he runs the ball onerous, catches the ball. There’s nothing that man can’t do.

Q: What did you make of Roethlisberger saying, “We have no chance?”

A: I feel he was referring to we’re perceived as having no likelihood. And the best way we see it as, nobody’s giving us a shot, however we’re gonna come able to play.

Q: What could be your message to Steelers Nation?

A: Be loud. And we’re gonna give all of it we received.

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