On Thursday, Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward met with the media and answered questions on a wide range of subjects, including everything from what he is seeing from second-year outside linebacker Alex Highsmith to the likelihood of Stephon Tuitt returning in time for the season-opener.
Heyward was also asked about taking third-year inside linebacker Devin Bush “under his wing,” with the reporter in question highlighting the Ohio State-Michigan dynamic, and how their fathers played together in the NFL when they were Atlanta Falcons teammates.
“The only thing special about our relationship is I never lost to Michigan and he always lost to Ohio State,” said Heyward with a smile.
“… And then he stepped on Michigan State’s field when my brother was at Michigan State,” added Heyward, making reference to Bush scuffing up the Spartans logo prior to an Oct. 2018 game between Michigan and Michigan State at Spartan Stadium, a game won by the Wolverines, 21-7.
Cam Heyward: ‘It’s My Job to Make Him Mature’
Turning more serious, Heyward went on to say: “I just want to be there to provide information for [Devin]. He can be a knucklehead at times—on the field [and] off the field. He’s just young, but it’s going to come with time. It’s my job to make him mature and make sure he becomes a leader of this defense one day.”
Indeed, most observers would say that Bush has been a knucklehead off the field, at least of late. In early July, he ran the risk of alienating his TikTok-using teammates when he tweeted a message urging users of the social media platform to “stay TF away from me.” Then he went on to share a very disturbing cat video, which in turn, led to him to question the allegiance of fans who criticized him. He even trolled Steelers fans and publicly messaged teammate Chase Claypool about how they are “the ones winning.” That is, getting over on Steelers fans.
But if there’s anyone who can get Bush to “grow up,” it’s Heyward, an 11-year-veteran who is a six-time team captain (2015-2020). It probably doesn’t hurt that there are other ties that bind them.
Devin Bush Sr.—who played free safety and strong safety—was Atlanta’s first-round pick (No. 26 overall) in 1995. He played for the Falcons for four seasons before moving on to the St. Louis Rams and then the Cleveland Browns. The late Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward was a first-round pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1988, and went on to play for the Falcons between 1994 and 1996.
Cam Heyward on Alex Highsmith
As for the things Heyward said about teammate Alex Highsmith, it’s safe to say that he likes what he has seen in terms of the second-year outside linebacker’s development.
“I call him ‘The Robot,’ because he moves so stiff sometimes,” said Heyward, flashing a big smile.
“You look at his play on the field, he has become more than just a pass rusher—he’s able to drop. He understands where he needs to be, and he’s able to disguise a little bit more this year…. I think he’s able to understand what we are trying to do here … show different looks. And I feel like he feels more comfortable doing it.”
Heyward also went on to speak about the process of getting Kendrick Green prepared to start as a rookie center. Heyward indicated that he’s not doing anything different than he does against the team’s other offensive lineman, even the scout team. He went on to say that it’s Steelers nose tackle Tyson Alualu who is acclimating Green to life in the NFL trenches.
“He’s going against Tyson every day, and Tyson is going to beat you up if you aren’t careful. He’s getting the best work he can. Hopefully it prepares him for the season,” concluded Heyward.
The next step, of course, is Saturday’s home preseason game against the Detroit Lions, in which all of the healthy first-teamers figure to get at least some playing time.
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