Cameron Heyward's presence at Steelers OTAs speaks volumes about his character

You can question how much Cam Heyward deserves to make on his next deal, but don't question his character and leadership.
Cameron Heyward, Steelers
Cameron Heyward, Steelers / Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Omar Khan, Mike Tomlin, and Art Rooney II are all well aware of how these contract situations work. When a player is entering the final year of his deal, players often skip out on Organized Team Activities as they look for an extension. This was the case with Cameron Heyward and the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2024.

But something happened that Steelers fans didn't expect. Entering the final week of Steelers OTAs, Cameron Heyward not only showed up to the facility but he was dressed in his practice uniform and ready and participated in drills. Here are a few clips of Heyward at OTAs from Aaron Becker of Yardbarker:

Heyward's contract situation has not been resolved. The 35-year-old is entering the final season of the four-year, $65.6 million contract he inked with Pittsburgh during the 2020 offseason and is looking for one last big payday.

His presence at training camp is nothing short of a testament of his character.

Cameron Heyward embodies what it means to be a Steeler

Nobody is forcing Heyward to show up to Steelers OTAs. Organized Team Activities are completely voluntary. This is just who Heyward is. He wants to be here and he wants to compete.

Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Heyward plans to attend minicamp next week and is expected to be present for the start of Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College. However, the extent of his involvement during practices remains to be seen.

It's hard to blame Heyward for his approach. He knows how much money is on the line and he doesn't want to unnecessarily injure himself before his next extension is secure. Having said that, the veteran leader and current Walter Payton Man of the Year made it a point to be there with his teammates toward the end of Steelers OTAs.

Heyward voiced that he wants to play another three seasons and he hasn't closed the door on suiting up with another franchise. However, his preference is to finish his NFL career, which all started in Pittsburgh.

Cameron Heyward doesn't have any incentive to step foot on the field until his extension is worked out, but his willingness to be on the field with his Steelers teammates speaks volumes about his character.

Whether you feel he deserves to be paid like one of the top interior defenders at this stage of his career or not, it's impossible not to be a fan of one of the best leaders this team has seen.