The brothers Cameron and Connor Heyward, sons of former Atlanta Falcons’ fullback Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, returned home with their Pittsburgh Steelers to take on the Atlanta Falcons and made historic plays before their hometown crowd, which included high school classmates and friends.
Their biggest fan, their mom Charlotte Heyward-Wesley was in the crowd wearing her son Cameron’s number 97 jersey. In a post game Steelers press conference, Cameron [the oldest of the Heyward sons], wore Ironhead’s number 34 Falcons jersey. Earlier in the morning Cameron and his youngest brother Connor, who is a rookie tight end/fullback for the Steelers, visited their dad’s grave in Lawrenceville.
It was an emotional trip back to where they were raised in Duluth Ga just north of Atlanta. They graduated and played ball at Pine Ridge High School in Suwanee, Gwinnett County. Cameron went on to play football for The Ohio State University and Connor starred at Michigan State. Their father played football while attending the University of Pittsburgh.
Craig “Ironhead” Heyward was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the 24th pick in the first round of the 1988 NFL Draft. Ironhead Heyward would play for the Saints for five seasons. After a year with the Chicago Bears, Ironhead would sign with the Atlanta Falcons in 1994.
Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward died of a cancerous brain tumor in 2006.
Talking about his brother Conner’s first touchdown against the team their father played on and in the brother’s hometown, Cameron Heyward shared, “I was pretty emotional when he got the touchdown.”
Cameron had an impact on the game, sacking Falcons QB Marcus Mariota on 3rd and 13 with 10:05 remaining in the second quarter. The play resulted in a seven yard loss.
“I always want all of my children to have the opportunity to live their dreams,” said Heyward-Wesley, who has a third son Corey who played basketball at Georgia Tech. “To play in the NFL is a dream of many and a reality for few. To come home and get a win in their hometown and also play a major part in that win is amazing. As a family we are basking with joy on this day and grateful for the opportunity that they earned,” she said wearing son Cameron’s #97 Steelers jersey.
Connor caught his first touchdown pass of his NFL career. Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett connected with Connor Heyward on a 17-yard touchdown strike which capped a 75-yard drive.
Both Cameron and Connor agree that living in Pittsburgh allows them to get more family time with each other and other family members including their maternal grandmother. Cameron is a dad now and said having his brother there to be with him and his family is very special.
Connor said the biggest thing he misses about living in Atlanta is the weather and being home with his mom and his dogs. The thing he likes the most about living in Pittsburgh is “It’s really cool being at work with him (Cameron) on and off the field.” Conner also said he fulfilled a “childhood dream playing for Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin.”
The Steelers would beat the Falcons 19-16.