NFL COMBINE: Q & A with Lil’ Ironhead, Cam Heyward

Cam Heyward speaking to the media at the NFL scouting combine. (Associated Press)

Cam Heyward speaking to the media at the NFL scouting combine. (Associated Press)

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.

Cameron Heyward picks up a fumble and returns it for a short gain. The defensive tackle who last week against Miami returned an interception 80 yards, called the short fumble recovery return "unacceptable." (Terry Gilliam, Associated Press)

Cameron Heyward picks up a fumble and returns it for a short gain. The defensive tackle who last week against Miami returned an interception 80 yards, called the short fumble recovery return "unacceptable." (Terry Gilliam, Associated Press)

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

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31 comments Add your comment

robertussen

March 1st, 2011
6:44 am

Chainshaw

March 1st, 2011
7:00 am

He will be a beast on the field and a leader in the locker room. The NFL team that gets Cam will be very lucky.

SeenThisB4

March 1st, 2011
7:28 am

Hopefully he won’t be drafted by ATL, cause he won’t get any coaching or mentoring there; if he does get drafted by ATL, it’s a guaranteed road to a bust…..

Cinco

March 1st, 2011
7:41 am

SeebThisB4 – you must have a pretty miserable life when you log onto blogs just to critisize the team. Why don’t you get on a blog of a team you do like? Oh yeah, you don’t like any team because it’s easier to just critisize than support.

Dawg Consultant

March 1st, 2011
7:46 am

Cameron Heyward will have a long career in the NFL. I wish him well. Unfortunately, I would not be suprised if he slipped to the second round based solely on the injuries is is recovering from. He is defintely a first round talent, who can play any defensive line position. I do believe his best position would be a 3-4 DE (Steelers, Cowboys, etc). He can however play DT and even 4-3 DE in a pinch (though that would not be his strength; playing the role of a edge rusher).

I would be happy if he ended up with the Falcons. I dont see this happening though. The Falcons have made no secret of the fact that they need an “edge rusher’. The new Falcon regime drafts for system and need. I think these will leave Heyward lower on their board then other teams.

In any event, great article. Good young man, who father was not just a great pro, but a good guy to boot. I wish Cameron well.

SirReal

March 1st, 2011
7:50 am

Shut up SeenThisB4….lol…I know the season is over and you are going through withdrawals but let it go. Anyway, I hope we get Cam Heyward. He might just be better than the other Cam coming out this year…I’m sure they’ll get to know each other very well on the field. This is the perfect pass rusher to go alongside Abe. Lets face it….if your DE is by committee then no one on that side has been good enough to solidify the position so we need to quit the stupid “rotation” (I understand i keeps legs fresh but they can be spelled in instead)and let someone lock it down.

Buckeye

March 1st, 2011
8:21 am

Cameron Heyward is a “Damn good” Buckeye.

D. Orlando, he’s looking to be his own man, not “Lil Ironhead”. Show some respect for Cameron and his late father. He’s not a rapper a la “Lil Bow Wow”. Oh ya, Bow Wow dropped the “Lil”.

SeenThisB4

March 1st, 2011
8:48 am

SirReal: Anybody drafting a running back in the first round deserves to get a bust. Take a look at the running back class of 2010 and compare how they did versus the running backs in 2010 that were not drafted, start with Tampa’s Blount, and the Saints’ Chris Ivory.

As for me, I have tiger blood in my vein and Adonis DNA!

I’m better than you and Cinco, and better looking too!

Sid

March 1st, 2011
9:11 am

As long as you guys post to the little Peeshwank he will never go away, your tugging on his jollies.

DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS

**************************************************
Darrell, would love to read an interview with Kerry Meier about his rehab progress.

Buckeye

March 1st, 2011
9:56 am

Good to see a Buckeye on the current Sports front page!

Blood& Guts

March 1st, 2011
10:19 am

Please don’t draft him just because his daddy played pro ball

Rikus

March 1st, 2011
10:42 am

Re: Blood& Guts: Please don’t OVERLOOK him, just because his daddy played pro ball!

Logan

March 1st, 2011
10:48 am

I went to high school with Cam. He is a great dude. I wish him the absolute best in the NFL. He will be a role model to many young kids one day, actually I take that back, he already is. It is pretty cool to say I went to school with and now know an NFL player. Something our school is very proud of. Good luck Cam!

atlnative

March 1st, 2011
11:42 am

I remember Cameron Heyward playing High School Basketball at Whitefield Academy in Mableton,Ga.He was driving SACA phenom Dwight Howard crazy with his court presence.I hope the Atlanta Falcons draft Heyward in April.

Mike Jay

March 1st, 2011
12:07 pm

Seen,

I remeber not to long ago a team took a certain RB in the first round from USC who seems incapable of playing a full season. Talk about a bust and waste of a pick. Texans got laughed at for not taking him…nobody’s laughing at them now.

Look Alive

March 1st, 2011
12:13 pm

Jughead Heyward has not shown much loyalty to this state in the past by using the Ga taxpayer money for his schooling and training and then skipping out of state to play for another school. My feeling if when an ingrate leaves the state then just stay out. His lack of character my surface again. He and mom should find another life in Cleveland or Cincy. Have a great day. The same goes for Cam the icon. Move to Fla or Ala and play wherever he can if he can.

Look Alive

March 1st, 2011
12:14 pm

may surface again..Have a great day.

Trojan

March 1st, 2011
12:48 pm

Refreshing, a CAM with integrity.

[...] Atlanta Quote: [...]

Dirty South Steelers Fan

March 1st, 2011
1:21 pm

Cam will be an absolute stud at the next level and the NFL team that gets him will be blessed with a superstar!!!!!

Lester Miles

March 1st, 2011
1:44 pm

Any negative comments on the Cam twins are deleted.

FACTS

March 1st, 2011
2:25 pm

I don’t know if Cam is the answer, but the Falcons better get something to help that defense or the blogs will pretty much be the same next year.

Tallcarñ

March 1st, 2011
5:48 pm

SeenThisB4 shut up and get off you Mama’s computer. Heyward is not a running back, have someone read the article to you and explain it before you start your negitive ranting. I wish I could break all your fingers, for starters.

Falcons relax...

March 1st, 2011
6:18 pm

This guy is a 3-4 end. Im not even considering him coming to us. I doubt we even draft a DE in the 1st round, ESPECIALLY IF MIKE POUNCEY IS ON BOARD BY THE TIME WE PICK.

Mike Jay

March 1st, 2011
7:08 pm

Agreed, Bad fit for the Falcons. Draft is deep at DE no need to try and squeeze a round peg in a square hole. Nice round peg but just don;t need it.

TheManMike

March 1st, 2011
9:20 pm

GHunt

March 1st, 2011
11:41 pm

Heyward is my choice at # 27. However I do not believe he will be there when our # is called. Did you see how he destroyed Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl contest? I also like Kerrigan and Pouncey.

Sam

March 2nd, 2011
8:37 am

Heyward dominated the Sugar Bowl playing with only one healthy arm. And, he has great character. That’s the kind of player I want.

Falcons relax...

March 2nd, 2011
12:20 pm

@ Ghunt and Sam Do you guys know football? Thats a serious question. Because hes a 3-4 end. We’re a 4-3 defense. HE SYSTEMATICALLY DOESN’T FIT OUR DEFENSIVE SCHEME. Its basically pointless to draft him no matter how good he is

dan

March 2nd, 2011
2:31 pm

Cameron Heyward, Takeo Spikes, and Joe Burns are the best Georgia high school football players I have seen in person. Phenomenal talents that could put an entire team on their backs. Heyward was an absolute man beast at DT. He had the ability to totally manhandle an entire offensive line. I’ve never seen anything like it before or since. I also remember his late daddy, Craig. I would see him and some of the other Falcons workout at Sports Life in Gwinnett in the early 90’s. And even though I absolutely hated that god awful “Run and Shoot” offense that June Jones used to run, I always liked seeing Ole’ Ironhead truck defenders. Just one nasty dude! In regards to Cameron’s draft status, I was a little a disappointed that Cameron decided to not play in the SEC. He certainly gained notoriety at Ohio State, but I think the National Media tends to focus more on DL from the SEC. I also don’t think the Falcons will give him much of a look, even though it would be cool to have him back in the ATL. But I wish him the best, wherever he lands.

GHunt

March 3rd, 2011
1:35 am

Falcons relax, have you forgotten Heyward is more than a 3-4 DE. He has shown that he is flexible enough to play DE or DT . The kind of player T D and Smitty crave. Falcon relax I am sure you know this, so I am assuming you are smoke screening to keep other teams in the dark about who the Birds are targeting.