Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cameron Heyward had gone to the Pro Bowl every year since 2017 up until this season. He still can as an alternate, but it’s also the first time since 2018 that he wasn’t voted in outright. He’s been All-Pro every year since 2018 as well, usually first-team. So how does that sit with him? Does it fuel him?
“Man, I got tons of motivation. I can go through the list”, he told reporters yesterday, via the team’s website, when he was asked about whether or not being snubbed was motivating. “But it’s something down the road I’ll have to think about. There are so many things that I need to do for this team that Pro Bowl comes second to”.
Everything, of course, comes secondary to efforts to reach and win the Super Bowl. At the moment, they have about a two-percent chance of even making the postseason, let alone hoisting any trophies, but until they are mathematically eliminated, that is what will drive him first and foremost.
While going to the Pro Bowl is always an honor regardless of what the game has become (indeed, it’s finally been replaced by a flag football tournament), Pro Bowls do carry weight for certain considerations—like Hall of Fame advocacy.
As a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro (three first-team; he could still get another this year), he is starting to build a notable resume, but this has come in the second half of his career. He took his game to another level after missing most of the 2016 season due to injury and has just not stopped since then.
He is up to 8.5 this year, threatening to post his second straight season of double-digit sacks after hitting 10 a year ago. He also has 62 tackles, 12 for loss, with 18 quarterback hits, a forced fumble, and three batted passes.
For his career, he has 602 tackles, 113 for loss, with 76.5 sacks, 171 quarterback hits, eight forced fumbles, 45 batted passes, and two interceptions. Those are excellent numbers, but he’s not necessarily looking at first-ballot status at the moment.
Just for the sake of argument, however, let’s compare his numbers to that if Richard Seymour. Both have (or will have) played 12 seasons. Seymour is a seven-time Pro Bowler and five-time All-Pro. He recorded 498 tackles with 91 for loss with 57.5 sacks (quarterback hit data is incomplete), four forced fumbles, two interceptions, and 39 passes defensed with one touchdown.
I’m not saying, I’m just saying.