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Steelers OTAs Recap Day 5: Cam Heyward is back, and it feels so good

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The Pittsburgh Steelers were back to work on Wednesday, and it is worth noting the defensive leader who is back on the field.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Washington Redskins Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Sometimes the success of a team can make you forget some facts which happened along the way. For the Pittsburgh Steelers, or at least this website editor, throughout the Steelers 2016 winning streak, which ended up in an AFC Championship appearance, I completely forgot about the simple fact Cameron Heyward was lost for the season.

It wasn’t until Wednesday, when following the team’s OTAs on social media, when I saw this video of Cam Heyward and others putting in work...

I then realized the team will have their defensive captain back on the field in 2017, and it completely changes the dynamic of the defensive front. The team did well with the likes of Stephon Tuitt, Javon Hargrave, L.T. Walton and company, but you add Heyward to the mix and that unit becomes downright nasty.

Forget depth, we are talking about blunt force trauma.

And don’t think Heyward isn’t itching to get back and start making plays again after watching his team finish one step from the Super Bowl, without him.

With Heyward, along with free agent acquisition Tyson Alualu, the team will have a very nice rotation at the defensive line position which shouldn’t over-tax Tuitt and Heyward to the point of exhaustion. Throw in a budding star in Hargrave with a lighter Daniel McCullers backing him up, and the team’s defensive line could now become a strength in both run stopping, and rushing the passer.

Heyward is back...and it feels so good.

Alualu Injury

Speaking of Alualu, the free agent pickup from the Jacksonville Jaguars is dealing with a calf injury. He is limited to conditioning drills, but should be on track to be back on the field definitely by training camp, but he is shooting for minicamp.

Bigger Burns

Artie Burns had a solid rookie season. Stepped in and started in his first year as a pro, and really started to come into his own as the season progressed. If he continues this upward trajectory, Burns could become the cornerback the Steelers have been looking for since Ike Taylor was in his prime.

One difference in Burns from 2016 to 2017 is his overall strength. Burns reportedly gained 5-pounds of muscle for his second season, and that is a big deal. 5-pounds may not seem like much, but it most certainly is significant when a cornerback is going against bigger, and stronger, receivers on a daily basis.

In an interview with media, Burns spoke more about how the Steelers want to become more of a man-to-man defense. Something he thinks is necessary, and fans would agree, for the team to win their seventh Lombardi trophy in franchise history.

Check out the full media session with Burns below:

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