Steelers’ Cam Heyward Sends Strong Message to Former Teammate

Ben Roethlisberger with Ramon Foster and Cam Heyward

Rob Carr/Getty Images Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers with linemen Ramon Foster #73 and Cameron Heyward #97 during a preseason game on August 19, 2013.

On the July 6 edition of DK Pittsburgh Sports’ Ramon Foster Show, co-hosts Ramon Foster and Dejan Kovacevic devoted most of their lead segment to discussing the results of a recent ESPN survey that had Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward ranked as the 5th-best defensive tackle in the NFL. By itself, the surprisingly low ranking warranted discussion; making the topic even more compelling is that Heyward took to social media and issued a “warning” to the rest of the NFL, advising opponents not to “poke the bear.”

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As it turns out, Kovacevic and Foster — the latter of whom was a Steelers teammate of Heyward’s from 2011-19 — ended up doing just that. In what turned out to be a bit of foreshadowing, Kovacevic noted that “Cam gets righteously indignant when he feels slighted and he has no problem bringing it up.”

That’s when Foster referenced the results of ESPN’s survey of the NFL’s Top 10 Defensive Tackles, saying:

“If I’d of told you that Aaron Donald (and) Jeffrey Simmons was ahead of him (along with) Chris Jones and DeForest Buckner, you’d probably go …

“You can live with that,” said Kovacevic, finishing Foster’s sentence, before backtracking a bit, saying, “I don’t want Cam coming after us either.”

Then Kovacevic added a tail that probably made matters worse, at least as far as Heyward was concerned:

“If you’re a Pittsburgh fan you’re not going to dispute Jeffrey Simmons (being ranked No. 2) with what you have seen him do to your own team.”

Cam Heyward: ‘Saw Your Show …’

Fast forward to the following day’s edition of the show, when Foster revealed that he received a text message from Heyward the previous evening.

“I light up when I see my (former) teammates text me, and I still lit up when I saw the message,” began Foster, before noting that he and Heyward had what he described as a “very cordial conversation” about the results of ESPN’s survey and Foster/Kovacevic’s discussion about same.

According to Foster, Heyward’s text came in at 6:47 central time on July 6. It read: “Saw your show. I ain’t 5, I ain’t 4, I ain’t 3. It’s pick your poison at 1 or 2,” a reference to how he views himself and Los Angeles Rams All-Pro Aaron Donald as the two best interior defensive linemen in the NFL.

It’s Cam and Aaron and everybody else,” pronounced Heyward during a late May appearance on The Mina Kimes Show.

It appears that the ex-teammates went on to have a back-and-forth via text after Foster sent back a message that said: “Did I not give you your credit saying that? I know the motivation and the respect of everything that you see and do.”

Foster went on to reemphasize that what transpired was “a very respectful conversation” and nothing along the lines of “you guys suck.” He also said he appreciated Heyward reaching out and giving his reasons for how he felt, noting that he invited Cam to appear on the show, which he believes will happen at some point in time.

Last but not least, Foster also indicated that Heyward sent him stats that support the notion that he is one of the two best interior defensive linemen. Pro Football Focus would agree, as it rated Donald and Heyward 1-2 in the NFL last season, and no other interior D-lineman was even close.

That said, Heyward has been a Pro Bowler for the past five seasons, during which time he’s been named first-team All-Pro three different times, including in 2021. Earlier this year, CBS Sports named Heyward the best player ever drafted No. 31 overall. In September 2020 he signed a contract extension that keeps him with the Steelers through the 2024 season.

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Coming Soon: The Cameron Heyward Show

In case you’re wondering why Heyward was watching The Ramon Foster Show, it might have been part of his preparation for his own foray into podcasting. In June, we learned that Heyward will be launching The Cameron Heyward Show. The first episode is expected to drop on July 11, 2022.

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