Pittsburgh Steelers defensive lineman Cam Heyward is in the middle of what is looking like a career year.
In a career that has already been quite impressive, that’s saying something and the things that he’s been using as motivation along the way are unsurprisingly fascinating from a Steelers fan favorite.
Heyward is the son of the legendary Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who passed away at the age of 40 back in 2006 while Cam Heyward was still in high school. And it will come as no surprise that his father’s legacy and the fact that he now has two children of his own that serve as motivation should come as no shock to most.
However, Steelers fans might be interested to know that the “Parks and Recreation” character Ron Swanson, played by Nick Offerman, is also a major source of inspiration, according to a report from Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com.
“Never half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing,” Swanson says in an episode of Parks and Recreation.
And that quote, though portrayed in Offerman’s satirical style as the embodiment of masculinity, is one that has landed with Heyward.
“The Heyward name, I just want to keep growing it,” Heyward told Fowler in the spirit of both the quote and the memory of his father.
And Heyward is doing exactly that. He’s not receiving a lot of national attention, he’s making a strong case to make his first Pro Bowl team in 2017, though he’ll have to hope for help from the players and coaches as he’s currently outside the Top 10 in fan voting for defensive ends.
But even if he doesn’t receive that sort of recognition, he can take pride in the fact that he’s playing some of his best football ever and has become a cornerstone of a defense that has given up the second-fewest points in the NFL on an 8-2 team.