Cameron Heyward has been recognized once again as one of the NFL’s best players – but this time, it’s for his actions off the field.
Heyward was named Tuesday as this year’s winner of the Pro Football Writers of America’s Good Guy Award, which is awarded annually to an NFL player who helps the media do their jobs with their professionalism and willingness to answer questions.
From the PFWA’s new release on the award:
Heyward did not miss a media availability during the 2021 season, and those on the beat locally in Pittsburgh said he never avoided a tough question as he offered open and honest discussions about everything from on-the-field issues to the impact of the retirement of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He was cited for consistently going “above and beyond’’ to build an honest rapport with those who cover the team.
“We give out the Chief Award — named after team patriarch Art Rooney — for cooperation with the media every year, and it got to the point where we had to alter the rules to not allow back-to-back winners. If not, Cam Heyward would’ve won every award since. Instead, he’s won a record three in a span of eight seasons,” said PFWA Pittsburgh Chapter president Mark Kaboly of The Athletic. “I can go on forever about Heyward’s generosity with the media. During the week while most stars would pick a day to talk, Heyward would hold court any day of the week in front of his locker, and a line would form for impromptu 1 on 1s. He never turned anybody away. When the locker rooms would open after games, the entire media group would go right for Heyward, win or lose. When COVID hit, he never missed a week talking to the media, and it never seemed like a chore for him. He enjoyed being the voice of the team, and he used it to get his message across through the media, especially in tough times, and there have been a few of those over his tenure with the Steelers. He sets the tone in the locker room, and his teammates tend to follow his lead.”
The award comes after Heyward was also recognized for his on-field play during the 2021 season, when he earned first-team All-Pro honors for the third time in his career and made the Pro Bowl for the fifth year in a row. A seven-time team captain for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heyward was also the Steelers’ 2021 nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award in recognition of his community service efforts; just this past week, Heyward hosted his annual “Cam’s Birthday Bash” in Pittsburgh, where he hosted local children for a night of fun at Dave & Buster’s.
Heyward was one of two former Ohio State players who were finalists for this year’s Good Guy Award, as Washington Commanders wide receiver Terry McLaurin was also among the four finalists. Heyward is the first Buckeye to win the award.