Pittsburgh Steelers star Cameron Heyward pushed back on the NFL’s offseason plans for 2021.
Heyward let it be known on Twitter Friday night how he feels about the NFL pushing for an in-person offseason, while the NFLPA would prefer it to be virtual like it was last year. His two biggest points is that by going virtual last offseason, injuries plummeted across the board, as well as we are still in the midst of a pandemic and wants to ensure the coronavirus can be controlled.
While there is no reason to expect the entirety of the 2021 NFL offseason to be virtual like it was a season ago, Heyward may have a point when it comes to limiting injuries. Football is game where injuries are a certainty, but preventing unnecessary hitting in the offseason could have positive effects for the best players in the game to play all 17 games in an expanded regular season.
Pittsburgh Steelers: What does Cameron Heyward’s offseason stance mean?
If you want to read between the lines from a Pittsburgh perspective, having a mostly virtual offseason would better serve the Steelers more than other organizations. This is a team in win-now mode with several veterans on the back-nine of their careers. Many Steelers players have had tumultuous offseasons before, whether that be with lockouts or pushing through COVID-19.
If you want to dig a little bit deeper, this can come across as Heyward being well aware of how narrow of a championship window his team has. Pittsburgh could get to a Super Bowl, but is only doing so in one way: Winning with defense, despite clear and obvious offensive limitations. If players like Heyward, T.J. Watt, Minkah Fitzpatrick or Devin Bush get hurt, that window gets shut.
It is totally understandable for the Steelers’ player rep to be this adamant about remaining virtual.