Steelers’ Cameron Heyward Receives ‘Community MVP’ Award


Jared Wickerham/Getty Images Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward with head coach Mike Tomlin.

On Friday the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) named Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward as its Community MVP for Week One of the 2020 season.

The NFLPA’s Community MVP is awarded weekly during the regular season and “recognizes one player who has demonstrated a commitment to making a positive impact in his community.” Each weekly winner becomes eligible for the annual NFLPA Alan Page Community Award, “the highest honor that the NFLPA can bestow upon a player.”

Heyward is the second recipient of the award this season as the NFLPA bestowed a “Week 0” MVP to Kevin Byard of the Tennessee Titans. Byard personally packed and distributed 300 distance learning kits filled with school supplies, hygiene items and gift cards for Nashville families in need.

Cameron Heyward’s Little Free Libraries

Cameron Heyward received the honor for installing the first of several Little Free Libraries in underserved communities across the Pittsburgh area.

“His efforts mark the official launch of the Rufus and Judy Jordan Literacy project, which is named after his grandparents and focuses on social justice, racial equality, financial literacy and life skills,” according to the NFLPA’s press release.

The program’s book-sharing boxes provide 24-7 access to books in areas where they are scarce so that underprivileged communities can have equal access to literacy. Heyward created the program this summer after his grandfather, Rufus “Pup Pup” Jordan passed away in June of this year.

“It’s an honor to receive the NFLPA Community MVP for a second year in a row,” Heyward said in the release. “The work that I do with my foundation is not to achieve awards, but to impact children in many ways.”

$10,000 Donation to The Heyward House Foundation

For being named Community MVP, the NFLPA makes a $10,000 donation to the player’s foundation or charity of choice—in this case, The Heyward House Foundation.

Last year, Heyward was honored as the Week 9 NFLPA Community MVP for raising $200,000 at his annual fundraiser for the Heyward House Foundation.

The most recent Pittsburgh Steelers player to win the weekly Community MVP award was former Steelers linebacker Mark Barron, who was recognized last November for distributing 1,500 Thanksgiving turkeys to underprivileged families in his home state of Alabama.

Barron is now a member of the Denver Broncos, having been signed by the Broncos in late August to shore up the team’s linebacker depth. Barron is currently on Denver’s injured list, suffering from a hamstring injury.

Former Pittsburgh QB Charlie Batch won the Alan Page Community Award in 2013, the most recent Steelers player to be bestowed that honor. Steelers running back Franco Harris received the award in 1982, running back Rocky Bleier won it in 1975 and linebacker Andy Russell was so honored in 1973.

Heyward expects to spend the rest of the All-Pro career with the Steelers, having signed a four-year contract extension within the past few weeks. Heyward was Pittsburgh’s first-round draft pick in 2011, 31st overall, coming to the Steelers from Ohio State University.

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