Heyward, Bush take home year-end PFWA Awards

Cam Heyward and Devin Bush need to clear a little more space on their mantles tonight.

Friday after practice at the Rooney Complex, Heyward and Bush each took home an award from the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America.

First to the podium was Heyward, who earned "The Chief Award," which was established in honor of Steelers founder Art J. Rooney, Sr., and is presented annually to the Steelers player who best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with media.

Heyward, exemplifying some of that cooperation with media, took the stage and offered the following thoughts on winning the award:

Heyward also won this award in 2014, and he joked Friday that he told media then he'd be back. After giving way to Ramon FosterArthur MoatsDavid DeCastro and Joe Haden from 2015 to 2018, Heyward did indeed make good on his promise to repeat. With that, Heyward becomes the first multi-time winner of "The Chief Award" since James Farrior won it in 2009 and in 2011.

Since the award was established in 1986, Jerome Bettis leads the pack with three wins (1998, 2000, 2004).

After Heyward's award presentation, Bush took the microphone to accept the "Joe Greene Great Performance Award," given annually to the Steelers' top rookie.

There was little question with this one. Not only did the Steelers uncharacteristically move up 10 spots in the 2019 NFL Draft to secure Bush, he's started 14 out of 15 games played, setting a team rookie record with 97 tackles in the process, a mark that also ranks just one tackle behind Terrell Edmunds' team-leading 98 on the year. Edmunds won this award last season.

"It meant a lot, man," Edmunds was telling me of winning the award. "It's an amazing accomplishment, something that no one can take from you."

In addition to the tackles, Bush has provided the splash Steelers brass expected of him, registering four passes defended, nine tackles for a loss, four fumble recoveries, a quarterback hit and two interceptions in his rookie campaign.

"First of all, I just want to thank the Steelers organization for believing in me and trusting in me, obviously doing unusual things to get me," Bush began. "But I just want to thank my teammates, too, Coach Tomlin, Mr. Rooney, Kevin Colbert and all their staff just for creating an environment for me to flourish and to make everything easy for me and keep my head on straight and allow me to see the bigger picture."

While Bush has made an impact on the field and lived up to expectations throughout the year, he did mention some challenges that come with life in the NFL.

"Just the professional life," Bush said. "On and off the field, everything is different. It's my job now. It's a high-stakes job. It's a demanding job, as well as taking care of things off the field just with your personal life. Trying to balance the two as you're learning a whole new playbook and a whole new system [is a challenge]."


To continue reading, log into your account: