Cameron Heyward of the Steelers Wins 2024 NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year Award

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Pittsburgh Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward is the 2023 Walter Payton Man of the Year award winner. The award, which is considered to be the league’s highest honor, recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service. Each team nominated a player to represent the franchise for the award, and Heyward was Pittsburgh’s selection this season, which marks the sixth time in his career that he’s been up for the honor. 

Specifically, Heyward was commended by the team — and now the league — for his year-round charitable endeavors, but specifically with his annual Cam’s Kindness Week, where he reaches out to different factions of the community on a daily basis. Within Cam’s Kindness Week, Heyward also worked with The Caring Place, which offers programs to support children and families who are grieving after a devastating loss. That program hits especially close to Heyward, who lost his father when he was just 16 years old. 

Earlier this season, Heyward also won the Ambassador Daniel M. Rooney Champion of Mentoring award. 

“For me it’s about trying to impact my community,” said Heyward, via the official team website. “Giving young people a chance and connecting through this platform. I am lucky enough to play for an organization that allows you to do that.

“There are so many kids that are looking to just partner and people to connect with. We might not have the same backgrounds, but I want to be an advocate, I want to continue to give back. I want to make sure they understand there are opportunities to be had.”

On top of all that, Heyward also helped Café Momentum Pittsburgh, which opened earlier this year where the local community can go and enjoy fine dining and offers culinary internships for teens 15 to 19 who are justice-involved. Heyward donated $50,000 to the organization last year for the Steelers Social Justice Fund. He also met with interns to talk about breaking the cycle of incarceration and violence they’ve been affected by. In 2018, Heyward launched Craig’s Closet to honor his father. The program provides free dress clothes to help young men as they move forward in life.

Heyward was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft and has spent his entire career in Pittsburgh. In that time, he’s been named as an All-Pro four times and received a Pro Bowl nomination six times. This past season, he totaled 33 tackles, two sacks and three quarterback hits in 11 games played. 

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