Heyward-Bey Unselfish Attitude Shines Through In Win

Darrius Heyward-Bey has earned the reputation as one of the Pittsburgh Steelers’ leaders, well-respected and rarely outworked. His career transformed from one bound for fame, a top ten draft pick, to someone who has to consistently do the little, often unnoticed things, to earn his keep. And he’s done it well.

That was on display in Sunday’s win over the Cleveland Browns. And you can thank Heyward-Bey for that, keeping the game a 14-7 score with his trek across the field, forcing a fumble on Briean Boddy-Calhoun’s interception that gave the ball back to Pittsburgh.

For him, it was just the play he knew he had to try and make.

“We threw the pick,” Heyward-Bey told reporters via Steelers.com. “And I understood that if they score this touchdown, they’re going to go up 21-7. And we can’t have that. And I just looked at the pylon and ran as fast as I could.”

That “fast” is the fastest on the team, a high achievement for a group chock full of speed. DHB estimates he ran approximately 80 yards in total to reach Boddy-Calhoun before knocking the ball out of his hand. He went for the tackle but when he saw how casually the rookie corner has holding the football, he knew there was a chance to make an impact play.

“Defenders never hold the ball well or that often. So when I saw the ball slip out, I just kinda threw a little punch at it.”

As soon as he popped the ball loose, he knew it was Steelers’ football, and DHB gave credit to Landry Jones for jumping on the football.

“I stripped it out. I knew it was a touchback…I knew it was going to be our ball at the 20.”

It kept things a one-score game and the Steelers fed off that, driving down to tie the game up on the following drive. They’d take the lead one possession later, where Heyward-Bey did his part thanks to a 46 yard snag downfield.

It’s a play not everyone would’ve made. Heck, we saw a week ago, Antonio Brown not even bother to chase down an interception that happened 15 yards away from him. For Heyward-Bey, his past shapes his attitude today.

“Man when you,” he said, taking a long pause after being asked where that hustle comes from.”When you’ve been through what I’ve been through, you just go out there and play football.”

He didn’t specify all that he’s been through but it’s probably what we’ve outlined above. A career that went off the rails pretty quickly, forcing him to adapt to a new role in order to stay in the league. But Heyward-Bey has always taken it seriously, always embraced it, and excelled. For a position filled with divas, DHB goes against that grain.

About the Author

Alex Kozora
Full-time blogger from mom's basement. Marrying tape and statistics. Chidi Iwuoma is my favorite Steeler of all-time.
  • Glenn Baldwin

    1) I’ve come to really appreciate DHB the last couple seasons.
    2) Chock full rather than chalk full. Sorry, couldn’t help myself from pointing it out.

  • Jason

    I remember when he was signed this site was full of negative comments about his terrible hands etc. To be fair he earned that reputation but he’s been the ultimate teammate and professional since arriving and he could be a huge difference maker in the post season on offense and ST.

  • Michael Mosgrove

    had he not been hurt he would have been wr2.

  • Orlysteel

    An unsung player and one of my favorite Steelers, he brings a lot to the table.

  • 20Stoney

    One of the former writers here always seemed to delight in pointing out his shortcomings. He was still doing it this season on twitter. The guy has been nothing but a pro here and is a great guy to have around on the WR depth chart. It’s nice to see him settled into a role and not being judged by where he was drafted so much.

  • Petherson Silveira

    I never stop reading about this guy. He makes me proud. I’m looking now for him to get a lot more play time on offense e regain the starting job that he had earn in that week 9 when he twisted his ankle. Fortunately it wasn’t a season ending injury and he could came back just in time to playoffs.

  • melblount

    DHB is one of the Stillers (and perhaps NFL’s) greatest reclamation projects of all-time. LOVE this guy.

  • Jason

    His hustle yesterday was awesome. He was also the only guy not sleepwalking early in the game. Ben will give him opportunities to make plays against the Dolphins like the reverse he took 80 or so yds in the first meeting.

  • will

    Wow! You called out AB as a “DIVA”!!! …………………I totally agree with you! AB needs to remember his roots!
    Way to go Alex……….. I always enjoy your articles and perspectives on the Steelers.

  • Big White

    He was drafted I think #7 by the Raiders and I believe may be Al Davis’ last 1st round pick. Davis’ was obsessed with speed for four decades and in that draft DHB was projected to be a last first rounder, so #7 was a reach to say the least. They were so bad as a team and it didn’t take long for him to be tagged a bust. Who knows where his career would be had he ended up in the latter part of that first round to a Baltimore, Packers, Giants or Steelers.

  • colingrant

    Quietly, these are the type of plays and players that have vaulted New England over the years. Brady’s consistent excellence and 44 others who take great pride in doing there jobs without notice or fanfare.

  • pittfan

    these are the kind of guys you build championships around.

  • Dshoff

    You can’t overestimate that hustle. That will be played in the film room.

  • pittfan

    set the expectation.

  • charles

    DHB and Shamarko were playing very well as gunners on ST. When they both were injured it showed. Steelers luckily have them back just in time.

  • blackandgoldBullion

    His hands were his downfall and I was very down when they signed him. He has proved us doubters wrong. And his hands have been better in Pittsburgh. If Coates is not ready to be a big contributor in the playoffs, I expect Ben to use DHB much more especially down the field. I think DHB has obviously worked his butt off.

    You know when preparation meets opportunity, you get lucky! Time for DHB to come up big if the Steelers are to do some damage in the playoffs.

  • treeher

    Thomas will be back?

  • StolenUpVotes

    Not this season

  • StolenUpVotes

    Always room for a guy like DHB in Pittsburgh.

  • Steel B

    Love this guy.

  • Benjamin Simpson

    I totally agree I’ve been a fan of DHB since he came to the Steelers. I defended him relentlessly against people that wanted him cut because they didn’t know what they were talking about. I’m glad to see that he’s finally getting the credit that he deserves. He is in my opinion a standout human being and great team player.

  • Da Bus Driver

    Ya know, his transformation has been remarkable and is still incomplete. Meaning, I think he could really make a huge impact for this team. Not only this playoff run, but in the future. If he keeps his arrow pointing up, he should be around Pittsburgh for a while. I was totally wrong about this guy years ago. And I really hope we utilize him and his skills as we march on in the quest for 7.

  • Kevin artis

    You need players like this. I remember another receiver we had that chased down another player after an interception a few years ago. I think he was wearing number 18 or so but can’t remember his name. He was not a starter but showed great hustle.

    Hat’s off to DHB.

  • Lambert58

    Love DHB. He is great player in the supporting cast of this team.

  • Never really liked this guy before, but after listening to what he said here, I think he’s found a home in Pittsburgh.

  • Charles Mullins

    1. JH
    2. DHB

    ….Order of my man crushes.

  • Charles Mullins

    Would be interesting to see a Gif from the all 22 of his pursuit as well as the speed from thier trackers.

  • Rod Hedrick

    I liked him when he played for the Colts. He was the deep ball guy and special teams machine. He has proved his worth time and time again! Great article Alex!

  • TrappenWeisseGuy ;

    Got to give him credit. To go from being drafted,at what 6th overall?, to being an afterthought and sticking to it years later is commendable.