Mike Tomlin No Longer Wants Cameron Heyward Imitating His Late Father

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward returned a squibed kickoff at the end of the first half Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens and if you missed it, you likely missed the final one of his career.

According to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, head coach Mike Tomlin no longer wishes to see Heyward imitate his late father, former NFL running back Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.

“I got reprimanded for that,” Heyward said, per the Fittipaldo report. “I won’t let that happen again. I’m falling straight to the ground.”

As you can see in the animated gif below, Heyward has to leap a little in order to field the bouncing kick from Ravens kicker Justin Tucker and he cuts outside to the right hoping to get a block from backup defensive back Antwon Blake.

Heyward should be given credit for having the football nicely secured underneath his right arm, but I doubt Tomlin saw it that way.

In case you are curious, Heyward’s 11 yard return has him just five yards behind wide receiver Antonio Brown for fifth place on the team.

Somewhere, I bet Ironhead approved of his son performance.


  • cencalsteeler

    The guy has running back qualities to him. First, he has the hands to field the ball. He transfers it to the right hand and tucks it away correctly. He bounces it outside and I think I even see a stiff arm making one guy miss. Sign him up for short yardage goaline situations.

  • steeltown

    Ha!…would be fun to watch

  • steeltown

    It’s actually a pretty good run

  • Eric

    I disagree with coach Tomlin. Use him on short yardage runs like the Fridge in the 1985 superbowl season for the bears.

  • Luke Shabro

    I feel like a lot of people were ready to call Cam a bust before he even got a chance to start. In my opinion, so far so good. I don’t feel like the kid is lacking for effort or passion for the game (obviously) and he’s better suited to the 3-4 than Ziggy is. I don’t think Ziggy’s excellent or anything but I honestly don’t believe he’s as bad as some fans make him out to be. It wouldn’t upset me if Ziggy was on the team for a million bucks a year for depth but if I was a 4-3 team I’d snatch him up and let him be a penetrator.

  • Douglas Andrews

    My first thought was “what is he doing” but looking back at it now Cam is a natural

  • cencalsteeler

    How fun would it be to see Cam back at the halfback position on goal line situations with Fangupo as the fullback leading the way? Cam has the ability and Fangupo played fb back in the day. I say, use all the tools necessary to win!

  • srdan

    Maybe not even run the ball, but it would be nice to see us use a big body in short yardage situations as a blocker, ala Cincy, NE and the 49ers.

    I agree, he looked pretty natural. And you never know the way Haley is calling the games.

  • Bob

    I have to disagree with Tomlin here. Falling on the ball is probably the smart way to go for a DE, but after a play like that I think you get excited for the guy and congratulate him. He’s not going to see a chance to even try that often in his career and he handled it great! I know we’re all serious as hell at 2-4, but have some fun too. You get to play professional football for a living, enjoy that a little too.

  • greeny

    Totally agree

  • Afrazier9

    that might have been one of the best comments i have seen

  • Dr. Doom

    would you feel the same if he blew out his knee?

  • SteveM2

    Cam could also blow out a knee while falling on the foolball.

  • Eric

    The only thing that makes sense from Tomlin’s prospective was a fumble with time remaining would be devastating. Cam knows how to protect the ball and he showed us that.

  • Dr. Doom

    have you ever someone do that? seen it happen to guys who are not used to carrying the ball.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Being Cam isn’t use to handling the football Tomlin is correct although he didn’t look bad. I saw on another game last weekend the same instance but the guy fumbled so Tomlin is correct to have his concerns.

  • Rob

    If the guys on the return team can not field a muffed or short kick they should not be on the return team. Key word return team! If you have guys with suspect hands they go on the kick and punt teams! As to going to the ground and protecting the ball as well as protecting ones knees from hits not a bad strategy. It might have been better to let the person behind him catch it as he is the one supposed to return it.

    If you take the comment do not try to run the ball with regard to linemen it is not a bad idea on it’s face because they generally do not practice that and the potential loss of the ball or player do to injury could be bad.

  • Madi

    Neither of them is a bust, they just aren’t the flashy, dynamite first round picks the team has had in the past. I would definitely retain Ziggy for a reasonable salary, although it seems possible a 4-3 team will outbid us. They were calling Cam a bust simply because he hadn’t seen the field. He’s always looked good when he gets the chance. Keisel could easily be gone next year.
    McLendon and Woods both have the position flexibility to be DE. Steve has looked good there before. I don’t need to see him flipped there now like some people, but the way Woods has improved since he arrived, it might be worth thinking about next year. Between the two of them, plus Cam and Ziggy, I’m happy with those guys being the top four DL, however it shakes out. And they’re all young. We wouldn’t have to draft the position.

  • Madi

    RGIII did it last year, and he’s a better athlete than Cam, and he didn’t even get the ball.
    The safest thing to do is what you’re comfortable with. Cam is not Casey Hampton out there, he’s a natural. Considering it was the end of the half and the yards were meaningless, taking a knee would have been fine. But under normal circumstances, leaving 11 yards on the field would be just stupid. I have no problem with this.

  • Eric

    Why was Cam Heyward positioned so deep if he cant be trusted to pick up the ball?

  • Don

    That’s like saying if you can’t throw an accurate spiral, you shouldn’t be on offense. Each player plays a position and has a role, even on special teams. The return team has one or two guys to return the kick. The rest of them are there to block.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Hell, people were calling Timmons a bust at one point.

  • Madi

    Replace “one point” with “one million points including yesterday” and you’ve got it 🙂

  • SteveM2

    Yes, and –if you’ve watched as much football as most Steelers fans have– so have you.

  • Ahmad

    Good run back but I agree with Tomlin on this one. The risk of him turning the ball over wasn’t worth it IMO, especially since we had just let the Ravens score off a turnover minutes before. A fumble right there and the Ravens are already in field goal range.

  • Dr. Doom

    He has no business running with the ball, that is not his job fall down or immediately get out of bounds what happens if he fumbles?

  • CrazyTerry

    Tomlin is not one of the more creative coaches in getting a defensive player to play on another unit. Look at how Cinci uses one of their DL guys to play blocking FB on short yardage. Or how Vrabel was used by Belichick. Deoin had a key play in SB XXX on offense. At the very least, why they dont explore using Heyward on short yardage plays when the offfense would suffer in the past is beyond me.

  • CrazyTerry

    Ziggy is a bust. He is a backup at best. Not many called Heyward a bust but were wondering if he was and why the coaches would not try him at Hood’s expense last year when it was obvious Hood was never going to be a star.

  • Riverstko

    I liked Ironhead RIP now we have Steelhead! LOL!

  • Madi

    In my opinion Ziggy’s a backup at worst, not best.