Cam Heyward celebrated signing his new six-year contract on Friday morning by doing what he does just about every day. He came into the Steelers practice facility and worked out.
Less than 24 hours after inking the new deal, which will keep him with the Steelers through the 2020 season, Heyward joined some of his teammates in the weight room for what is a typical day for him.
But he did it with a little bit more of a smile on his face.
"It's exciting and I am very happy I get the opportunity to stay here," said Heyward. "A lot of thanks go out to a lot of different people. First of all you have to thank the Rooney family for even drafting me and then extending me. Then it goes down the list, my family, friends, teammates, coaches, training staff, the cafeteria people, the media outlets and the help they give me.
"I am just very appreciative to be able to continue to play for the Steelers."
Heyward, who was drafted by the Steelers in the first round in 2011 out of Ohio State, is also appreciative that his contract won't be something he is asked about for quite a while now. While Heyward never let it be a distraction to him, his focus always solely on football, he was asked about entering the last year of his rookie contract throughout the Steelers offseason. Now he can just talk football.
"It's nice to know I've got six years to put it on the back burner and just worry about football," said Heyward, who finished the 2014 season with 7.5 sacks. "It's never been a distraction and never will be. It's nice to know it got handled and handled the right way.
"We are all just focused on the task at hand and that is winning the Super Bowl. I like to think that we have one box checked with my contract. There are a couple of other guys, but we are staying focused as an organization and looking forward to raising another trophy this year."
Top photos of Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Cameron Heyward.
The Steelers report to Saint Vincent College for training camp on Saturday, July 25, with their first practice schedule for Sunday, July 26. Heyward has high expectations for the defense and the team in general.
"The intensity is going to pick up," said Heyward. "It needs to be a growing effort as a defense to pick up Coach (Keith) Butler's scheme and be a top five defense in the league. The ultimate goal as a team is to make the playoffs and win a Super Bowl.
"I think we have the talent, we have shown it in our efforts. We have had spurts on defense, been more consistent on offense. As a defense we want to be more consistent. We want to challenge our offense and say who has the best group."
And while football is front and center for Heyward right now, he is going to take a little time and celebrate this weekend. But not his contract. Instead he will be celebrating his wife Allie's birthday, which likely includes a cake from Giant Eagle.
"I have a little bit of money to go buy her a gift," joked Heyward. "I think we are both very excited. I am glad to know I get to be near family and get to be a part of this organization for a little bit longer."