INDIANAPOLIS – Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward, the son of former Atlanta Falcons standout Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, spoke to the media recently at the NFL scouting combine.
Heyward, who played at Whitfield Academy and Peachtree Ridge High, came off as a determined player, who can tell a good joke.
The room broke into laughter when he compared his head to his father’s. The elder Heyward passed away in 2006 after a seven year battle with brain tumors.
Here’s the best of Cam Heyward:
ON HIS PASS RUSHING STYLE: As a pass rusher for the next level, I think the things I bring to the table is that I’m a guy that likes to be physical with the pass blockers. I know I need to refine my techniques and continue to improve. I’m a guy that’s going to constantly hustle and just give it all I got.
AN UPDATE ON HIS INJURED ELBOW: It’s getting better. I got my full motion back already. I’m a little disappointed I don’t get to work out here. My Pro Day is March 30 and I’m getting better every day. I recently had UCL reconstruction and I’ll be back in three months. … My surgery was January 12th and I’m getting healthy. It’s been an ongoing process. It hurts a lot, because I really want to be out here [working out] right now. I wish I could be competing my butt off right now, because I’m itching at this chance. I’m salivating. It’s a great opportunity to be here, to get to see all these great guys and great competition, you want to be a part of it.
ON HIS FATHER: I can’t follow it. It’s his legacy. I want to be in the NFL, and he was there. I want to leave a legacy of my own. I don’t want to live in his shadow. He was a great player and he’s always in my heart. I appreciate everything he’s done. But I want to do everything by my own. I’m not asking anybody to give me a second look or anything just because my dad was ‘Ironhead’. They all know I have a big head just like him [media laughter].
ON HIS HOW HAS HIS DAD’S NFL EXPERIENCE HELPS HIM: I get to run into guys that he knew. It’s funny to hear stories about him. I remember hearing a story about him and Tony Siragusa. It was hilarious. To see those guys around, it’sa true pleasure, because you get to hear all these stories about your dad. It just gives you great [memories] about him.
ON PRESSURE OF BEING IRONHEAD’S SON: I hope I have pressure. That’s one thing, I’m hoping I have a little bit of pressure behind me because I want to perform well. I wouldn’t have it any other way. If guys are expecting a lot out of me, so be it, because I’m a guy that’s going to produce and give it all I got.
ON WHY HE WON’T BE A BUST LIKE FORMER OHIO STATE DE VERNON GHOLSTON: We’re two totally different players. Vern, they had him dropping at linebacker. You’ve seen my dropping abilities, they’re pretty good [joking]. Me, I can play all over the line – I can play 3-technique and 6-technique. We are two different players. We had the privilege of going to The Ohio State, but we’re not the same player. I’m never going to compare myself to him and I don’t think he’ll ever do the same.
ON IF HE HAS A SWEATER VEST LIKE OSU COACH JIM TRESSEL: The thing about Tress, coming into The Ohio State, I didn’t know where I was going to go. I didn’t know what I was going to do there. Things me and my mom really decided on coming to Ohio State were things off the field. We knew coaches weren’t guys on the field, and he really taught about being the complete person and having a good physical and having good academics, having good morals and having a spiritual part of you. Just being a good family person and I think you need all those things to be a complete person, and it will lead to being a better player on the field as well.
ON GOING IN THE FIRST ROUND: I don’t know where I’m going to go, but I’m just approaching this with the best attitude. If I go in the second round, it doesn’t matter because it’s been a great opportunity and not a lot of people say they can play in the NFL.
ON WHAT REMEBERS ABOUT HANGING OUT IN THE FALCONS LOCKER ROOM: (Running back) Jamal Anderson. I was already bigger than Jamal when I met Jamal [media laughter]. When I get a chance to meet those guys, I really appreciate it, because they really knew my dad, and they had all these great stories. They were my dad’s friends. I knew they would have my back just as well.
ON HOW HE WOULD HAVE TACKLED HIS DAD: “I’d take him on, full head. He would do, he would lower his head too. I’m going to go right at him. I’m not going for the ankles, I’m going to take him down right away.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog