Heyward, Watt named first-team All-NFL

Defensive tackle Cameron Heyward and linebacker T.J. Watt and were named first-team All-NFL by the Pro Football Writers of America, as well as named to the All-AFC team. Both players were previously named first-team All-Pro by the Associated Press.

Heyward had 10 sacks this season, the second time in his career he had double-digit sacks. Heyward is one of just 13 players in league history to have at least 10 sacks and nine passes defensed in a season.

Heyward is a never-say-die player, giving his heart and soul on every single play.

"If you watch our practices, you see him run around and do a lot of things that as a coach I don't have to do," said defensive line coach Karl Dunbar. "I think that is the stuff, the intangible things in the locker room, showing guys how to take care of their bodies when they are off the field.

"Cam is a guy that is really settled. He has a family. He knows how to play football and he loves football. The young guys see that."

Heyward's 10 sacks this season add to his career total of 68 sacks, ranking him in fifth place in team history.

"Cam Heyward, No. 97, he wrecks games," said Cincinnati Bengals Coach Zac Taylor. "It's not often you say that about defensive tackles. They can move him around to so many different positions. He has such a knowledge of the defense, a knowledge of his matchups. He is always a guy you have to pay attention to and be dialed in on because he will wreck a game in a heartbeat."

Heyward is a Pro Bowl selection for the fourth straight year, and the fifth time overall, after being Mr. Consistency for the defense all season long.

Heyward is also the Steelers nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide. It's the fourth time Heyward has been nominated for the prestigious honor, and quite honestly one he should win hands down, even though he doesn't do any of it for recognition or praise.

Watt, the Steelers 2021 MVP, tied Hall of Famer Michael Strahan's NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks, leading the NFL in sacks for the second-straight year.

Watt is one of only two players in NFL history to have 20 plus sacks in 14 or fewer games since sacks became an official statistic in 1982. The only other one to do it was the legendary Reggie White, who had 21 sacks in 12 games in 1987 in a strike-shortened season.

Watt also became the 12th player since sacks were counted as a statistic to have at least 20 sacks in a single season, something his brother, Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt, did twice.

Watt, who has 72 career sacks which ranks fourth in Steelers history, also joined White and his brother, J.J. Watt, as the only players since 1982 to have 70 plus sacks in their first five seasons in the NFL.

Watt set a new Steelers single-season sack record earlier this season when he surpassed the record set by linebacker James Harrison in 2008 when he had 16 sacks.

"It's all about tradition here and to be able to put your footprint in as part of the tradition here is special," said Watt. "I know it's an individual goal. I'm not big on individual achievements. But doing this with such a wonderful group of guys is what it's all about. To be able to be a part of this franchise hopefully for a long time, this is very special. But I really do have more work to do."

Watt has recorded at least half a sack in 11 games this season and has eight games with multiple sacks.

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