The Pittsburgh Steelers, along with all NFL teams, released their nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, and their pick was a good one — Cameron Heyward.
Heyward, who does quality work with several charities, is a great selection from the Steelers for such an honorable award.
This from the Steelers’ official team website:
“I have always prided myself in giving back to the community,” said Heyward. “The Walter Payton Award is the biggest award when giving back to the community. Walter Payton was a heck of a man, on and off the field.”
Every NFL team names a Man of the Year winner, and they are all eligible to be the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year, presented by Nationwide. Three finalists will be selected and the winner announced the night before Super Bowl LII during the NFL Honors awards show.
The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service, as well as his playing excellence. And Heyward, who will wear a special decal on his helmet for the rest of the season designating him as a nominee for the award, definitely is a standout in both areas.
He established the Heyward House Foundation in 2015 to benefit many causes, including the Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation, Boys & Girls Club of Western Pennsylvania, DKMS, KidsVoice, Smyrna Stars Basketball Club and after-school fitness programs.
Now it’s time to check on the Black-and-gold news outside the walls of BTSC:
The forecast says it will be cold Sunday at Heinz Field. But traditionally, that's when Le'Veon Bell gets hot.
An Ohio native who went to Michigan State, Bell has developed a reputation as a good cold-weather running back.
The Steelers are 12-1 in the 13 career games in which Bell has played. Bell's yards per carry (4.5), rushing yards per game (99.4), yards per reception (10.87) and touchdowns per game (1.2) are better in December than in any other month.
“Personally, I think it's because I play the same when it's cold and it's snow outside,” Bell said. “The same way, and other guys kind of don't. I think other guys play worse when it's cold because in their mindset, when it's cold outside, guys don't really want to tackle or block or whatever it is, catch the ball. I think my game doesn't change. I think the same in the cold as in the warm.”
During a historic late-season run last season, most of it was done in cold weather.
Counting the playoffs, Bell managed 1,431 yards from scrimmage (1,172 rushing and 259 receiving) and nine touchdowns during the Steelers' nine-game winning streak last season that stretched from the week of Thanksgiving through the middle of January. That's an average of 159 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown per game, all during a span when one game was played in a dome and eight others with game-time temperatures ranging from as high as 43 to as low as 17 degrees.
With backup outside linebacker Arthur Moats moving inside to help replace the injured Ryan Shazier, James Harrison could be in line to suit up Sunday night for the first time in a month.
“We'll see,” defensive coordinator Keith Butler said, smiling. “We'll see.”
Harrison hasn't played since getting seven snaps in Week 7 against Cincinnati. He did not play the following week against Detroit and was inactive for the first four games after the bye.
Outside linebackers coach Joey Porter hinted on Halloween that the Steelers could be saving Harrison for late in the season.
Six days after the Steelers faced one heated division rival, they play the other team in which tensions seem to most often simmer.
But while the hits could indeed be as hard during Sunday night's Steelers-Ravens game as they were two days ago when the Steelers and Bengals met, the Steelers say the overall tension between the players on the teams won't be nearly as palpable.
“There has always been a lot of respect from both organizations, from both sets of players,” linebacker Arthur Moats said of the Steelers and Ravens. “We are going to have a lot of big hits, but you never feel like it's with the malicious intent that you sometimes get when we play Cincinnati.
“With (the Ravens), they know us extremely well, we know them extremely well, we are going to compete to the bitter end… But there is always that respect level, and I feel like that's the difference between this rivalry and when we play Cincinnati.”