Steelers DT Cameron Heyward, now in his 13th season, may be reaching the tail end of his career. He shed some light on if he’s planning to return for another season ahead of the team’s regular-season finale.
“First and foremost, I have to see how my body feels. It’s been a rough season,” Heyward said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo.
Heyward has not had the 2023 season he likely imagined after suffering a groin injury in Week 1 that kept him sidelined until Week 9. He has just 31 tackles and two sacks on the year, which is his worst statistical season since 2016 when he played in just seven games after suffering a torn pectoral muscle.
The six-time Pro Bowler’s impact on the field goes beyond just his stat line as he sees several double teams every week and does a great job at plugging up running lanes.
However, he knows his best days are behind him. Heyward will turn 35 in May, which is why some believe it may be time for Pittsburgh to part ways with him.
Heyward is set to make $16 million in 2024. Whether he retires or is traded, that money could be used elsewhere on the Steelers roster, which feels stuck in mediocrity.
But it feels like we’ve done the same dance with Heyward the past couple of years, and he keeps coming back for one reason.
“I know I haven’t won a Super Bowl, and so that always eats me up at night,” Heyward told NBC Sports’ Peter King. “I got to be around guys that did win the Super Bowl, and I’ve always felt like I was the bridge to those guys. With the history and tradition, there’s a lot on my shoulders to win around here.”
If Pittsburgh defeats the Ravens (13-3) in Week 18 and gets some help, Heyward can put talks about his future on hold with a trip to the playoffs ahead. But falling short once again will force Heyward and the Steelers (9-7) to take a long look in the mirror.