When news broke of the New England Patriots having their 4-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady available in Week 1 when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town, one has to wonder what the players thought when they heard the news.
Count defensive tackle Cameron Heyward as someone who was actually excited.
When Heyward spoke with media recently, he stated how he was looking forward to seeing Brady under center.
"See you on Thursday. We are just going to prepare and be ready." Heyward said, and when asked if he wanted to see him (Brady) on Thursday, his response says it all. "Yep. Looking forward to it. It's Brady...shoot. What better way to start the season than to play Brady?"
When reporters reminded him the team could have faced Jimmy Garoppolo instead of Brady, Heyward stuck by his guns in regards to his feelings towards No. 12 for the Patriots.
"Our best vs. their best. If '7' is gonna be there, '12' is gonna be there. Let's join the party."
Hear the entire interview in the sound bar below.
The '7' Heyward speaks of is clearly Ben Roethlisberger, and his sentiment towards the upcoming game would certainly find him in the minority heading into the start of the 2015 season. It isn't as if the Steelers 'best' couldn't hang with the Patriots' 'best', but most would argue the roster the Steelers will be sending into Week 1 is hardly their best.
The team will be without All Pro running back Le'Veon Bell, All Pro center Maurkice Pouncey and budding superstar wide receiver Martavis Bryant, and that is just on the offensive side of the ball. The team's defense might not have suffered a debilitating injury, or suspensions like the offense, but they will have a lot to prove to themselves, the coaches and especially the fan base when the games start to count.
The defense should see Stephon Tuitt, Lawrence Timmons and Mike Mitchell return to the lineup for the Thursday night game, and fans across the globe are hoping these players returning will help fill some holes which were exploited regularly throughout the preseason.
The Steelers long and winding road which was their 5-game preseason is now over, and the Steelers look to beat the best on Thursday night in Foxborough. As Heyward said, their best vs. our best. Needless to say, the Steelers are in the perfect position to make a statement to themselves and the rest of the AFC with a road win against the defending champions on the NFL's prime time stage.