Cameron Heyward is the Steelers nominee for the fourth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, presented to a player for his outstanding sportsmanship on the field, including fair play, respect for the game, and integrity in competition.
The best photos of DE Cameron Heyward from the 2015 season.
"There are a lot of good football players in the NFL, but there are a lot of selfish players. Cam is not like that," said assistant head coach/defensive line coach John Mitchell. "Cam wants to win. He doesn't care if his number is called or not. What I like about him is when he encourages a player, or corrects a player, he is correcting himself. I have heard him tell players this is what we have to do, but I have to do it just as well as you have to do. That makes the player he is engaging with feel good because they know he isn't just talking to them, but he is talking to himself too, saying Coach Mitchell wants me to do it better too."
The award was created in 2014 to honor Art Rooney Sr., the founder of the Steelers and a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Art Rooney is an iconic figure in NFL history," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at the time the award was introduced. "It is appropriate that we honor his legacy in this way and recognize NFL players for one of the important values that Mr. Rooney represented so well."
Heyward, a defensive captain for the third straight year, is a leader on the field and off for the team, providing an impeccable example for younger players to follow for his dedication, determination, work ethic and the way he put the integrity of the game at the forefront.
One player from every team was nominated for the award, and eight finalists, four in each conference, will be selected by members of the NFL Legends Community, including Warrick Dunn, Curtis Martin, Karl Mecklenburg and Leonard Wheeler.
Current players will have the final say when the eight appear on their Pro Bowl ballot under NFL Sportsmanship Award. The winner is announced during the NFL Honors show the night before Super Bowl LII.
The winner will receive a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation to a charity of his choice and the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Trophy, which represents the key role sportsmanship plays in the game and how NFL players who demonstrate integrity and honor on the field serve as role models.
"It is gratifying that sportsmanship is the category," said Steelers President Art Rooney II when the award was announced in 2014. "It's appropriate. I like to think of my grandfather as someone who truly was a good sport, somebody who cared about the respect and the integrity of the game. The fact it's being voted on by the players, well, the recipient can feel good about it because it's voted on by his peers."