With talks about a new contract at a standstill heading into the final weekend before the start of the 2020 season, Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward had just about given up hope of striking a deal.
The Steelers had sounded some pessimistic notes about the possibility of getting anything done even as they called keeping Heyward a priority and the team’s policy of not negotiating contracts during the season forced Heyward to contemplate moving on after the season.
“We were going back and forth for a good bit,” Heyward said, via Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “When it got done, we were like, ‘Wow, we’re spent.’ This took a lot of work to get done. There was a time when I thought it was dead. I was getting ready for my farewell tour. I’m a very emotional person. Quietly, I was trying to distance myself a bit. I had to prepare myself for the day I wasn’t going to be a Pittsburgh Steeler. I had to prepare myself that this was my last ride.”
That changed on Sunday morning, however. Heyward met with Steelers president Art Rooney II at 8 a.m. and talks picked back up with enough strength for a four-year pact to get done by the end of the day.
Heyward said he told Rooney that he feels he has “another gear to hit” as he enters his 10th season because he didn’t play a lot during his first two seasons. If that proves to be the case, no one will have any second thoughts about beating the deadline to secure Heyward’s future in Pittsburgh.