Cameron Heyward is entering the final year of his rookie contract with the Steelers, but he is hoping it isn’t his last.
The 26-year-old defensive end wants to follow in the footsteps of three recently retired teammates — Troy Polamalu, Brett Keisel, and Ike Taylor.
"You know, the Steelers greats, they don’t go anywhere else,” Heyward told reporters earlier this week per the Tribune-Review. "And that’s one of my goals — to be a Steeler great. That means being here for the rest of my life. Football included and after."
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Heyward will earn $6.9 million in 2015 on his fifth-year option, according to Spotrac.com. He tied for the team lead with 7.5 sacks and led the team with six tackles for loss last season, starting all 16 games for the first time in his career.
The Steelers typically extend rookie contracts for players entering the final year of their deal, as they did with Maurkice Pouncey last offseason, but Heyward is preaching patience.
"You know, I’m not one of these guys who thinks about my contract while I’m here. I’m honestly just trying to get better," Heyward said. "I would love to have (an extension) done as soon as possible, but I’m not in any rush, I’m going to let the cards fall where they might."