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NFL Man of the Year Nominees 2022 | Steelers |


Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (97) launches the first Craig’s Closet in PPS during Cam’s Kindness Week, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (\Abigail Dean / Pittsburgh Steelers)
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward (97) launches the first Craig’s Closet in PPS during Cam’s Kindness Week, Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2022. (\Abigail Dean / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Cameron Heyward


Table inside Article
Position College Years in the NFL
Defensive Tackle Ohio State University 12

Excellence on the Field:

As long as Cameron Heyward's list of off field accomplishments may run, his work on the field may be even more noteworthy. Over his 12 NFL seasons, he has become a leading voice in a locker room known for producing some of the best defensive line play in the league. In the eight seasons that Cam served as defensive captain, the Steelers have ranked top-three in the League in sacks six times including five seasons sitting at No. 1. His personal on-field accolades include five Pro Bowls, three Associated Press First Team All-Pros, three Pro Football Focus First Team All-Pro titles, and two Pro Football Writers of America All-NFL nods among others. Cam is only the second Steelers' interior defensive linemen (DT-NT) in franchise history to be voted Associated Press First-Team All-Pro more than once, joining Hall of Famer Joe Greene. Cam's 70.0 career sacks are the most by a Steelers' defensive lineman since sacks became a statistic in 1982, third-most by an active NFL defensive tackle and fifth-most in franchise history. His 102 tackles for loss are the third-most by an active NFL defensive tackle, and his 158 quarterback hits are the most in franchise history.

Dedication & Commitment to Community Efforts This Year:

In 2022, Cam compounded upon his work in previous seasons, highlighted by the expansion of his Craig's Closet program to 10 high schools in the Pittsburgh Public School District. The project will now total 15 locations. Cam started by hosting a Teacher Appreciation Dinner at Steelers 2022 Training Camp. During their trip, he also announced a $10,000 donation to fund their classroom projects. Over the years, Cam's foundation has funded over $50,000 worth of classroom projects for teachers. Food insecurity has been a big pillar of Cam's Heyward House Foundation. Through the "Blessings In A Backpack" program, elementary school-aged kids will be able to take home nutritious food over the weekend. In previous years, this program supported over 1,980 meals for children. This year, Cam partnered with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank to donate $10,000, expanding the program to provide 9,300 meals. This season, Cam hosted his first Cam's Kindness Week. This entire week was dedicated to supporting the Pittsburgh community. Cam's first stop was the UPMC Children's Hospital. Many of the kids are unable to receive visitors due to the hospitals COVID restrictions so Cam and T.J. Watt stopped by the Dream Big Studio to participate in their "Guess What's In the Box" Game Show. On Day 2, Cam installed a new Little Library in McKeesport Presbyterian Church's Head Start Program. He then stopped by Pittsburgh Obama Academy to open a Craig's Closet and announced the program's expansion. Angel's Place, an organization that offers family centered childcare services and early education programs at no cost to qualifying parents was the stop for Day 3. During his visit, Cam brought early learning toys to help make their growth a fun and positive experience. Day 4 Cam was joined by teammates at the We Repair The World Garden. The garden was developed in 2012, turning an abandoned lot into an urban garden. While the garden is a resource to many community members, it didn't have an accessible path for anyone to come a receive free produce. Cam worked with his teammates to lay down a brick path to make the garden accessible to all community members who wish to visit. Last but not least, Day 5 of Cam's Kindness Week wrapped things up when Heyward presented a $10,000 donation to the Girls High School Flag Football in Pittsburgh to help more teams get their programs up and running.

Dedication & Commitment to Community Efforts in Years Past:

When Cam's foundation started in 2014, he kicked it off with a birthday party, not for himself, but for kids served by local agencies who often don't have the opportunity to celebrate their own birthday. He has made the birthday celebration an annual event, celebrating with the kids in an afternoon of fun and games, food, and gifts to uplift them and let them know how special they are. Since its inception, this program has served 300 kids. In 2018, Cam started Craig's Closet. This program provides high school boys in the Pittsburgh area with free dress clothes for interviews, internships, and more. Since its inception in this program has served over 300 young men and currently has 5 locations. Craig's Closet is named after his late father, Craig Heyward. When Craig Heyward, arrived at the University of Pittsburgh eagerly anticipating playing for the Pitt Panther football team, he came with exactly one suit to his name, and he would switch shirts, ties, and belts to change the look of that one suit. Many students face the same plight as Cam's father and through this program, Cam hopes to raise students' level of confidence and sense of self. In 2020, Heyward honored his grandparents when he started the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy Program. As a part of the program, The Heyward House installed 5 Free Libraries to help underserved communities in the Pittsburgh area. Throughout the season, Cam always makes sure the libraries were well stocked, delivering books of all kinds, including ones that touch on social justice, racial equality, and life skills topics. Rufus Jordan, passed away in June 2020, inspiring Heyward to launch the program. Rufus served as a teacher at Carrick High School and then as a founder and Vice President of the Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers. Heyward also works with The Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation's to grant $30,000 in Voices of Hope Scholarship, which are intended to provide brain tumor patients, or the family members of those affected by a brain tumor diagnosis, the opportunity to pursue a post-secondary education at an accredited College, University, or technical school. His father died in 2006 from a brain tumor. Every year he also hosts an annual Thanksgiving Food Distribution in conjunction with the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, supporting over 200 families on a yearly basis. Since 2017, Cam has supported over 1,200 families with meals.

Positive Character & a Lifestyle of Giving Back:

Cam's leadership in the community is mirrored by his leadership in the locker room at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex each week, in stadiums on Sundays and in his every-day life. A eight-time team captain, Cam has been entrusted with the leadership of a locker room that has gone 111-64-2 through his first 11 seasons. Over that time, Cam has been a 4x Steelers WPMOY nominee, a 3x recipient of PFWA's "The Chief" media good-guy award, a 2020 Art Rooney Sportsmanship award nominee, and was the 2019 Dapper Dan Sportsman of the Year, an award given annually to a sports figure with the biggest impact on the Pittsburgh Community. In his personal life, Cam looks emulate values learned from his mother Charlotte and late-father Craig Heyward in caring for his own family – his wife Allie and three children. He's made it a point to teach his kids, as well as Steelers rookies about the values of community. He is known for bringing younger players into the community fold and encouraging them to give back. "When he got here, he saw some of the older players give back," said assistant head coach John Mitchell. "The smart ones pick up on that. Cam is tireless. The money, the time he gives, you can't say enough good things about the guy. I love being around the guy. Not because he is a good football player, but because he is a good person." "It's been so consistent over the decade-plus that he's been here, that it's also expected," Tomlin said. "It's on and it's off the field. He handed out turkeys already. He's a multi-time Walter Payton Man of the Year candidate for us. This guy checks all the boxes. He is a blueprint for young and developing players, on the field and off." The Pittsburgh Steelers are proud to select Cameron Heyward as their 2022 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year.