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Steelers continue to value bloodlines

(Photo by John Adams/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

With the Steelers selecting Cam Heyward's younger brother Connor Heyward in the sixth round on Saturday, the Steelers now have four sets of brothers on their roster. T.J. and Derek Watt, Terrell and Trey Edmunds and Carlos and Khalil Davis are the other pair of brothers on the roster.

Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin both made remarks in their post-draft press conference that Cam played no factor in the selection of Connor.

"People understand who he is, but first and foremost, that's not why we drafted him," Colbert said.

However, with four pairs of brothers on the roster, it's clear that the Steelers value bloodlines, too. “We value the intangible quality,” Tomlin said.

Connor Heyward is only 6-foot, which is rare for a tight end, but Colbert said he was impressed with Heyward's ball skills and receiving abilities at Michigan State. Heyward is also capable of playing the fullback position. Steelers tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts envisions Heyward in a move tight end type of role.

“I saw him as a tight end, a move guy," Roberts said. "He offers some value. He can be an outstanding [special] teams player. It’s a skillset that will allow us to do some other things. He runs well, has good body control. He should be able to show up on Sunday with his skillset.”

Heyward was a four-year letterwinner at Michigan State and played in 49 career games with the Spartans from 2017-21, including 28 starts. Heyward switched to tight end in 2021 after playing running back his first four seasons. Heyward finished his career with 2,265 all-purpose yards (825 rushing, 723 kick return, 711 receiving, 6 punt return) and scored 11 career touchdowns (six receiving, five rushing).

Connor is the third Heyward to make it to the NFL. Connor and Cam's father former Pitt star Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, played 11 seasons in the NFL as a running back for the Saints, Bears, Falcons, Rams and Colts. Craig Heyward died in 2006 after a seven-year battle with a recurring brain tumor. Connor was in elementary school and Cam was in high school.

“He’s been a big brother, but more of a father figure," Connor said of Cam via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "I mean, I can take the tough love. I’m kind of expecting it to come in camp, but it makes the experience that much more fun.”

Cam added that he if he goes up against Connor in training camp, he's not going to go easy on him.

“I’m going to throw him on his ass."


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