INDIANAPOLIS --- Cam Heyward was asked today at the NFL Scouting Combine what part of his game resembles that of his late father, Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, the former bulldozing fullback who played 11 NFL seasons.
Cam, an Ohio State star expected to go in the first round of the NFL draft, said: "Using my head. I need to stop." The assembled reporters laughed, but it was a strange moment.
Ironhead Heyward, known for using his extra-large head as a battering ram, died in 2006 at age 39 of a brain tumor, when Cam was still in high school, near Atlanta. Of course, nobody knows if Heyward's style of play had anything to do with his death, but given all the focus today on head injuries and their ramifications, using your head as a battering ram is less celebrated now than it once was.
"We were both guys who just loved to pound," Heyward, 6-6, 287, said. "He was trying to pound linebackers. I'm trying to pound tackles. We have that toughness where we always want to use our heads. God gave it to us, so why not use it?"
Cam grew up around locker rooms -- the Falcons' being the one he remembers most. He is projected to be drafted somewhere near the bottom of the first round of a very deep draft for defensive ends.
Heyward currently is recovering from elbow surgery, which would be a bigger deal if he were a pitcher. He should be fine for the season, if there is one.
Right now, it seems likely Heyward will be available when the Eagles pick, 23rd overall. Most observers figure offensive line is a bigger need for the Birds, but they say they try not to draft exclusively for need; an impact defensive end at 23 could be a better value than an o-lineman. And this is a better draft crop of o-linemen than last year, so a solid one might be available in the second round, if a first-round d-end looked attractive.
Of course, that scenario wouldn't solve the mystery of where you then get a starting-quality cornerback, something else the Eagles desperately need.
The assembled comgine media still breathlessly await the long-promised appearance of another Cam, Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, who will have to answer some questions about declaring himself an "entertainer and an icon" recently.
O-linemen have been running the 40 today, not always a pretty sight.