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There’s another family connection in the Steel City.
Heyward is the younger brother of Steelers’ longtime defensive lineman Cameron Heyward, who reportedly said before the pick that “all hell’s gonna break loose” if the team selected his brother.
Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs onto the field during player introductions prior to a game against the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field Dec. 19, 2021, in Pittsburgh. (Justin Berl/Getty Images)
“Guess I got a roommate @ConnorHeyward1,” Cameron wrote on Twitter after his brother was officially taken No. 208 overall.
It was later revealed that when Connor Heyward received his draft call from the Steelers, Cameron Heyward was actually next to him at their Atlanta home trying to figure out who was on the other end of the line.
“He followed me into my mom’s room and was like, ‘Who is that,’” Connor Heyward said, via the team’s website. “I told him, ‘Just one second.’ It was coach [Mike] Tomlin. About halfway through, I told him who it was, and his facial reaction was just priceless.”
Michigan State tight end Connor Heyward answers questions from the media during the NFL Scouting Combine March 2, 2022, at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. (Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“I would live with my grandmother [in Pittsburgh] before I live with Cam,” Conner added in reference to the roommate comments. “Or I will get my own place. For the first couple of weeks or so I am sure I will stay with Cam or my grandmother, get situated and acclimated with the football stuff.”
The selection means the Steelers now have four sets of brothers on their roster.
“I honestly think when you have your siblings around, it makes you play that much better,” Connor said. “They can push you to the limits that your teammates can push you to, and when your brother has been tough on you, the teammates can kind of look at that and be like, ‘OK, he’s being tough on me.'”
Other sibling duos in Pittsburgh are T.J. and Derek Watt, Terrell and Trey Edmunds and Carlos and Khalil Davis.
“We value the intangible quality,” Tomlin added, via ESPN. “When you’re doing business with one, it probably gives you an indication about the intangible quality of the other. We’re all continually trying to measure that with which we cannot. That probably is what drives us toward the brother game.”
Conner is about six inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than his older brother, who the Steelers selected No. 31 overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Conner was a running back turned tight end with the Spartans, gaining 529 yards rushing in 2018 and 200 yards in 2020. Last season, he totaled 326 receiving yards and two touchdowns as a tight end.
The team says it expects to use Conner first as a tight end while seeing what he can do as an H-back and special teamer.
Michigan State Spartans tight end Connor Heyward (11) runs with the ball during the 2021 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl between the Michigan State Spartans and the Pittsburgh Panthers Dec. 30, 2021, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. (Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“I see myself as all of those and so do they,” Heyward added, via the team’s website. “They like my versatility. They have a plan for me. No matter what it is, I am going to embrace it. I am excited to be a Steeler.”