- Associated Press - Friday, April 29, 2011

PITTSBURGH (AP) - A quarter century after “Ironhead” became a phenomenon in Pittsburgh, a new Heyward is coming to town.

Call him Ironhead Jr.

The defending AFC-champion Steelers selected Cameron Heyward with the 31st pick of the NFL Draft. The Ohio State defensive lineman is the son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, the former NFL and University of Pittsburgh running back who finished fifth in the 1987 Heisman Trophy balloting.

Cameron Heyward was born in Pittsburgh, still has plenty of family in the city and spent his early years in the suburbs. In addition to his former All-American father, Heyward has an uncle who played at Pitt.

Heyward even said he has a Terrible Towel.

“I had always loved the team,” Heyward said. “I’m from there, my grandparents are from there, my mom’s from there. My gut feeling was I wanted to be in Pittsburgh. To be somewhere you want to be is an unbelievable feeling.”

The Steelers’ braintrust talked as if they were similarly as enamored with Heyward as he was with them. Although he was the record 12th defensive lineman taken in the first round, Heyward is seen as a good fit because he played in a system at Ohio State that is modeled after the Steelers’ 3-4 defense run by veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau.

Coach Mike Tomlin said that made Heyward “an easy watch _ an enjoyable watch, if you will” on film because Heyward was already playing what just might be the one college team playing what is the closest facsimile of the Steelers’ scheme.

“It creates a great deal of comfort when looking at someone, in terms of projecting what they might be capable of doing for you,” Tomlin said.

Heyward becomes the third former Buckeyes linebacker or defensive lineman selected by Pittsburgh over its past eight draft picks.

“It really looks like stars kind of aligned for us today,” Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said. “We feel real fortunate.

“Not only from a football standpoint, but this kid has impeccable character, work habits, toughness, you name it. It’s hard to find a hole with this guy. He’s a special player and a special person.”

The 6-foot-5, 288-pound Heyward was a four-year starter with the Buckeyes and an all-Big Ten honoree as a senior, when he had 48 tackles, three sacks and 13 tackles for a loss.

“We tried to adapt our defense to a Steeler-type of ball because Coach LeBeau was a well-renowned player at Ohio State,” Heyward said.

Heyward’s father was a well-renowned player at Pitt, which has shared a practice facility and building housing its offices with the Steelers for about a decade.

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