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NFL Man of the Year Nominees 2021 | Steelers |

Cam Heyward

Cameron Heyward


Table inside Article
Position College Years in the NFL
Defensive Tackle Ohio State University 11

Demonstrates Excellence on The Field

A seven-time defensive team captain, Cam Heyward has become the leading voice in a locker room known for producing impenetrable defense line play. The 11-year veteran has been selected to four Pro-Bowls, and twice-named First-Team All-Pro, the latter being as recently as 2019.

And for a good reason. With 60.0 sacks, Cam is tied with former LB Joey Porter for the fifth-most career sacks in franchise history, third-most among defensive linemen in franchise history, and third-most among all active NFL defensive tackles. His teams have either led or tied for the NFL lead in sacks in the last four seasons.

This season his on-field dominance has continued. In year 11, Cam ranks fourth, going into Week 8 among all players with 34.5 combined quarterback knockdowns and hurries on the season.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts this Year

In our ever-changing world where strong voices are needed, Cam has spoken out strongly about Pittsburgh's battle with gun violence as a Steelers Social Justice Committee member. This year, he has helped lead efforts to fight the increased gun violence in the region by teaming up with several organizations and experts to raise awareness through PSA's, community meetings, and supporting programs to come up with solutions to form a safer and more peaceful city. 

In addition to this, Cam honored his grandparents by starting the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Program. As a part of the program, The Heyward House installed Little Free Libraries beginning in 2020 to promote reading and literacy in underserved areas of Pittsburgh. Cam continues to make sure the libraries are well stocked, delivering books of all kinds, including ones that touch on social justice, racial equality, financial literacy, and life skills. Rufus Jordan, who was known as 'Pup Pup' to his grandkids, passed away in June of 2020, inspired Cam to launch the program. Rufus had a passion for reading and education. He worked as a teacher at Carrick High School and then as a founder and Vice President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers, which he held for more than 35 years. Judy was a Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher for over 30 years before she retired.

Demonstrates Dedication and Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Cam immediately began supporting frontline workers with food and PPE equipment. He also used his voice and platform to write an op-ed to the Pittsburgh community, telling his story of battling asthma and encouraging people to wear masks to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19, making sure the most vulnerable were being as protected as possible.

Cam teamed up with the Pittsburgh Foundation to help raise money for organizations that were providing critical necessities for the community, knowing that the need was growing stronger by the day as the pandemic spread. He teamed up with the Boys and Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania to provide 250 buckets of hygiene supplies, food, and cleaning supplies and launched a campaign to raise funds for the Boys and Girls Club to purchase an additional 114 buckets.

In memory of his father, who lost his battle with brain cancer in 2006, Cam works with the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation's Voices of Hope Scholarship Awards, which are intended to provide brain tumor patients, or the family members of those affected by a brain tumor diagnosis, the opportunity to pursue post-secondary education at an accredited College, University, or technical school.

Cam is also involved with Blessings in a Backpack, which helps kids fight food insecurity by providing backpacks filled with proper nutrition for them to take home on weekends when school meals aren't provided, and Urban Pathways, providing back-to-school needs.

Demonstrates Consistency in Positive Character and Models a Lifestyle of Giving Back

Cam founded 'The Heyward House' in 2015, using his platform, his voice, and his huge heart to reach out to so many Pittsburghers in need through different programs.

He launched his foundation on his birthday with a birthday party, not for himself, but for kids served by local agencies who often don't have the opportunity to celebrate their birthday. He has made the birthday party an annual event, celebrating with the kids through an afternoon of fun, games, food, and gifts to uplift them and let them know how special they are.

Cam grew up dealing with the challenges of severe asthma, requiring numerous hospitalizations. His health issues made it seem almost impossible that he would ever play sports, let alone one as physically demanding as football. But despite the doubts that others had about his future, he never let it stop him. His challenges with asthma have led him to reach out to kids who suffer from asthma to support them in living out their dreams.