Craig “Ironhead” Heyward played 11 seasons in the NFL after a standout career at Pitt. A 5-foot-11, 265-pound battering-ram of a running back, Heyward endured the physical rigors of the game en route to 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns with the Saints, Bears, Falcons, Rams and Colts.

Football gave Heyward fame, but he never pushed the game on his children. Heyward and his ex-wife, Charlotte, who grew up in Highland Park and attended Pitt, discouraged their sons from playing the sport.

Corey Heyward listened and is now a redshirt freshman on the Georgia Tech men’s basketball team. Cameron, a third-year defensive end for the Steelers, did not.

“They tried to steer me away from football, but I liked it too much,” said Heyward, who is in his first season as a starter. “I don’t think any father wants his son to go through punishment. But I’m kind of crazy to where I like that.”

Craig Heyward never got to see his son play college or professional football. He died of brain cancer in 2006, when Cameron was a senior in high school.

Cameron Heyward played at Ohio State and became a first-round draft pick, like his father, when the Steelers selected him 31st overall in 2011. After two seasons as a reserve, Heyward is blossoming in his new role as a starter.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin inserted Heyward into the starting lineup in Week 5 and he has not disappointed. Heyward is tied with fellow defensive end Brett Keisel for the team lead in quarterback pressures with 21 and has 22 tackles and a sack. In his first two seasons combined he had 32 tackles and 21⁄2 sacks.