Craig Heyward

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Craig Heyward
No. 33, 34, 45
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1966-09-26)September 26, 1966
Place of birth: Passaic, New Jersey
Date of death: May 27, 2006(2006-05-27) (aged 39)
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 265 lb (120 kg)
Career information
High school: Passaic (NJ)
College: Pittsburgh
NFL Draft: 1988 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24
Debuted in 1988
Last played in 1998
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing Yards 4,301
Rushing Avg. 4.2
Touchdowns 30
Stats at NFL.com

Craig William "Ironhead" Heyward (September 26, 1966 – May 27, 2006) was an American football running back who played for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, and Indianapolis Colts in an 11-year National Football League career.

NFL career[edit]

He was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the first round (24th pick overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh, Heyward's 3,086 career rushing yards rank third all-time at Pitt. in only three seasons. He declared himself eligible for the 1988 draft after his junior year. In 1987 at Pitt Heyward rushed for 1,791 yards[1] to earn consensus All-America honors and finish fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.[2]

Heyward was widely regarded as a nightmare for opposing defenses because he was often as big, and sometimes bigger, than the defenders who had to stop him, and had surprising quickness and agility. One of the NFL's best "big man" running backs in the vein of Earl Campbell, Heyward, at 5'-11" and reportedly between 250-340 pounds was a punishing runner who was also a devastating blocker and good receiver. Heyward slimmed down to closer to 280.[citation needed]

In the mid-1990s, Heyward showcased his sense of humor in a series of television commercials for Zest body wash, introducing a generation of American men to the modern version of the Luffa that is now a fixture in many showers and bathtubs. The "lather-builder" and Heyward's tough-guy image created a humorous contrast in the advertisement, culminating in a voting campaign that named it the "thingy".

Statistics[edit]

Note: G = Games played; Att = Rushing attempts; Yds = Rushing yards; Avg = Average yards per carry; Long = Longest rush; Rush TD = Rushing touchdowns; Rec = Receptions; Yds = Receiving yards; Avg = Average yards per reception; Long = Longest reception; Rec TD = Receiving touchdowns

Year Team GP Att Yds Avg Long Rush TD Rec Yds Avg Long Rec TD
1988 New Orleans Saints 11 74 355 4.8 73 1 13 105 8.1 18 0
1989 New Orleans Saints 16 49 183 3.7 15 1 13 69 5.3 12 0
1990 New Orleans saints 16 129 599 4.6 47 4 18 121 6.7 12 0
1991 New Orleans Saints 7 76 260 3.4 15 4 4 34 8.5 22 1
1992 New Orleans Saints 16 104 416 4.0 23 3 19 159 8.4 21 0
1993 Chicago Bears 16 68 206 3.0 11 0 16 132 8.3 20 0
1994 Atlanta Falcons 16 183 779 4.3 17 7 32 335 10.5 34 1
1995 Atlanta Falcons 16 236 1,083 4.6 31 6 37 350 9.5 25 2
1996 Atlanta Falcons 15 72 321 4.5 34 3 16 168 10.5 25 0
1997 St. Louis Rams 16 34 84 2.5 8 1 8 77 9.6 25 0
1998 Indianapolis Colts 4 6 15 2.5 8 0 1 9 9.0 9 0
Career Totals 149 1031 4,301 4.2 73 30 177 1,559 8.8 34 4
  • Stats that are highlighted show career high

Cancer[edit]

In November 1998 Heyward reported blurred vision in his right eye, and was diagnosed with a malignant bone cancer, reportedly a chordoma, at the base of his skull that was pressing on the optic nerve. After it was partially removed in a 12-hour operation, he underwent 40 rounds of radiation treatments and was later pronounced cancer-free; but in 2005 the tumor recurred and he died on May 27, 2006 at the age of 39.

Personal[edit]

Nickname[edit]

It was at Passaic High School that he gained his oft-used nickname "Ironhead", a reference to his wild-man strength and the fact that he had to wear a hat size of 8¾.[3] Heyward's obituary in The New York Times gave a different story. It said he got his nickname from street football games in which he would lower his head into the stomach of the tackler; one opponent said it hurt so much that Heyward's head must be made of iron.[4]

Family[edit]

His son Cameron Heyward plays defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He played for the Ohio State Buckeyes, where he was named a freshman All-American in 2007 and honoured as a team captain. Cameron was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers (31st pick overall) in the 2011 NFL Draft. Cameron etches the words IRON HEAD on his eye black as a tribute to his father.

His oldest son Craig Heyward Jr. was a walk-on at Middle Tennessee State, where he played primarily on special teams. He was signed to the Trenton Steel of the SIFL where he was a running back. His son Corey Heyward graduated from Peachtree Ridge High School and will be playing basketball for Georgia Tech.

References[edit]

  1. ^ pittsburghpanthers.com
  2. ^ pittsburghpanthers.com
  3. ^ Idec, Keith. Rumqstr=eXJpcnk3ZjczN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk1NzEmZmdiZWw3Zjd2cWVlRUV5eTY5NDU5MTEmeXJpcnk3ZjcxN2Y3dnFlZUVFeXk5 "Heyward remembered fondly at memorial service", Herald News, June 9, 2006. Accessed July 12, 2007. "Heyward played 11 NFL seasons for five franchises and was a Heisman Trophy candidate his junior season at Pitt. But it is what he did during his remarkable run at Passaic High School that they remember most fondly."
  4. ^ Litsky, Frank. "Craig Heyward, Who Was N.F.L.'s Ironhead, Is Dead at 39", The New York Times, May 29, 2006. "He would lower his head into tacklers' stomachs, and one opponent said it hurt so much that Heyward's head had to be made of iron. Once, Heyward said, a youngster clubbed him over his size 8¾ head with a billiard cue. The cue broke in half."

External links[edit]