Steelers’ Cameron Heyward Blasts NFL Media, Speaks Out on Mike Tomlin’s Future

Cameron Heyward Mike Tomlin

Getty Pittsburgh Steelers veteran defensive lineman Cameron Heyward sounded off on the rumors swirling around head coach Mike Tomlin.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have another game to play. They will face the Buffalo Bills on the road in the AFC Wild Card round. On the January 10 episode of his podcast, “Not Just Football,” Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward made it clear that the Bills are his and the team’s only focus right now.

The playoff matchup, though, is not the sole focus for Steelers and NFL media. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported on January 7 that Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin could take some time off and not return to the team for the 2024 season.

On his podcast, Heyward blasted the timing and validity of the report.

“There is a new thing every single week. I don’t know what Mike T is thinking. I’m not asking him right now, I am focused on the damn Buffalo Bills,” Heyward said. “That’s where my focus needs to be.

“But I’ll say this, just last week, people were asking me if I was retiring. That’s how full of crap this stuff is. People were asking me to take pay cuts and whatever. But then had the nerve to ask me the other questions after.

“My focus should be on playing football, my focus shouldn’t be if I’m about to retire. These people are too busy spreading false news rather than just letting us focus on football.”

Could Mike Tomlin Leave Steelers After Playoffs?

For much of December, local Pittsburgh and NFL media questioned whether the Steelers would bring back Tomlin for next season. Firing or trading Tomlin both appeared to be possibilities.

But now that the Steelers won their final three games and earned a postseason berth, the uncertainty around Tomlin is whether he wants to be back in Pittsburgh.

“Mike Tomlin gets to dictate what happens here, not the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Schefter said on ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, via Awful Announcing. “They’re not firing him. He’s staying on. But he’s staying on if he wants to.”

Tomlin has one year remaining on his contract. It’s a near zero chance the Steelers will allow him to coach the 2024 season without signing him to an extension.

So, the two options for Tomlin are either to sign an extension or exit after the playoffs.

Heyward admitted to not knowing Tomlin’s future. But his argument seemed to imply Tomlin might not either because he’s focused on beating the Bills.

Steelers’ Cameron Heyward Calls Out ‘Pay Cut’ Comment

In addition to Tomlin, Heyward faces an uncertain future with the Steelers. The defensive lineman was upfront about that when asked on January 3 about potentially retiring.

“First and foremost, I have to see how my body feels,” Heyward told reporters, via The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Ray Fittipaldo. “It’s been a rough season.”

That response, though, led to speculation that Heyward will retire. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac then argued in an online chat on January 3 that if he returns, Heyward will have to accept a pay cut.

“I think Cam has earned the right with the Steelers to come back for the final year of his contract, if he so chooses,” Dulac wrote. “However, if he does, there is no question he will have to re-do his contract.”

Heyward wasn’t pleased with Dulac discussing his 2024 contract.

“I love people talking about my money,” Heyward said on his podcast. “If I did that to them, and said, ‘Oh, let me look at what you make’ and say ‘Oh, you definitely need a pay cut.’ You’d be like, ‘Excuse me?’

“It’s just funny how people act not to your face, but to other people, so I’ll just say that.”

There’s no guarantee Tomlin and Heyward will both be back for 2024. But clearly, Heyward is a believer in the saying, “You can’t believe everything you read.”

Read More