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Hall of Fame role model


THANKS MEAN JOE:** DE Cameron Heyward's locker at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex has been adorned this week with a prized piece of Steelers memorabilia:

A black No. 75 jersey with the inscription "To Cam, Joe Greene, HOF '87."

"Signed by Mr. Greene himself," Heyward announced, "only the greatest D-lineman of all-time in Steelers' history."

Heyward is one of several Steelers who chose to honor a Steelers Legend by wearing their jersey in this season's edition of the scoreboard game introduction video.

Heyward's association with Greene predates the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft.

And it's a relationship Heyward immediately embraced upon his arrival.

"He was still a scout here he's still a scout, technically he was working here and just his interactions with me, we just talked football," Heyward said. "He used to talk about using hands, and the nastiness, 'Embrace it, you gotta be nasty out there.'

"I'm just appreciative of trying to get to know him a little bit."

Heyward has a firm grasp of what Greene meant to the Steelers.

"He's a great role model of mine on and off the field, very team-oriented," Heyward said. "His career is one you want but I have a long way to even think about being that way."

That includes aspiring to command a similar presence.

The Steelers prepare for the Week 2 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Right, definitely, every D-lineman wants to," Heyward said. "He was the heartbeat of the team. He was respected by his teammates, his peers, his adversaries on the football field. He really embraced being the legend he is, and everybody followed him because of it. It was never not authentic. There was never a time you thought, 'Joe's not being himself.' He was comfortable in his skin and you appreciated it.

"He interviewed me at the (NFL Scouting) Combine, I was just amazed. Getting to talk to him over the years, he's just an awesome guy. You see the football stories on him but then when you really know him, you're just that much more appreciative of it, just humbled."

The jersey may or may not have a permanent home at Heyward's locker.

"I was thinking about taking it home but everybody keeps asking about it so I might just keep it here," he said. "It might be good luck."

MAKING PROGRESS: LB Ryan Shazier (knee) was limited in practice after not practicing on Wednesday.

So he's moving in the right direction in advance of Sunday's game against the Bengals.

"We'll see," defensive coordinator Keith Butler said. "He moved around pretty well for us. We'll see as tomorrow comes along and Saturday.

"If he's available of course we want to play him. But we want him to be prepared to play, too."

PULLING TACKLE: Offensive coordinator Todd Haley had high praise for the offensive line in general and OT Marcus Gilbert in particular in the wake of the Steelers' 38-16 season-opening victory over the Redskins.

"They did a tremendous job run and pass," he said. "Marcus Gilbert played as good a game as I've seen. To see a tackle pull around there two or three times, smashing linebackers, creating holes, pass pro was excellent. Across the board they played really well."

Gilbert hopes to play even better against the Bengals.

"I'm just trying to get better and trying to help my team win," he said. "If (Haley) says that, then I'll have to go out there and perform better this Sunday."

HE SAID IT: "It's AFC North football. It's a two-chinstrap game. Every game that we play is a rival game, every one. We have another rival coming to Heinz Field.

"Everybody knows the fines that are associated with this game. Everybody knows the professional hatred that we have with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Bengals have with us. Everybody's heard the Twitter fights and things of that nature that we've had in the offseason. Guess what? Come Sunday, all of that comes to a head. It's going to be our will against their will. We'll see whose will breaks first."_ RB Le'Veon Bell on Steelers-Bengals.

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