Sources: Steelers DL Heyward sitting out OTAs

PITTSBURGH — Steelers defensive lineman and reigning Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Cameron Heyward has not participated in voluntary offseason workouts and does not plan to attend OTAs as he seeks a contract extension, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler. Heyward, set to become a free agent in 2025, has never missed an offseason program.

Heyward, 35, has registered the most defensive stops in the league since 2019 with 242, via Next Gen Stats, and the third-most sacks among interior rushers during that span with 58.5.

He plans to play several more years and is healthy again after last year’s core muscle injury, a source told Fowler.

Heyward started dealing with the core muscle injury during the 2023 training camp and ended up missing six games when a fall tore his groin muscle in Week 1 and required surgery. But he returned ahead of schedule to play the final 10 games.

The longest-tenured Steeler and a longtime captain was adamant in his desire to continue playing a day after the Steelers’ wild-card loss to the Buffalo Bills.

“Of course, I want to play; in my mind, I want to play more than just one more season,” Heyward said in January. “I’ve just got to get healthy first. We talk about coming back from injury, I was told at the time it was a 12-week process, and we came back in six weeks. I fought the doctors every week.

“I just wanted to put my hand in that pile. But the flip side of that is I put my body through a lot of pain this year. It was getting me to the stadium and go from there, but I can’t be doing that year in and year out.”

Heyward is in the final year of a four-year, $65 million extension signed in 2020 and is scheduled to count $22.4 million against the 2024 salary cap.

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