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Bevy of defensive ends could intrigue Steelers

Steelers/NFL Videos

By Scott Brown
Monday, Feb. 28, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS -- If the Steelers stay true to their drafting philosophy of taking the best player available, they could select a defensive end with their first-round pick in April.

And there may be several enticing options for them at the bottom of the first round, including Ohio State's Cameron Heyward.

Heyward's father's, the late Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, starred as a running back at Pitt in the 1980s and then played for more than a decade in the NFL.

Heyward died of cancer in May 2006.

"He was a great player, and he's always in my heart," Heyward said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "I appreciate what he's done, but I'm not asking anybody to give me a second look or anything just because my dad was 'Ironhead.' "

Lineage is hardly the reason teams will give Heyward a long look leading up to the draft.

The 6-foot-5, 294-pounder had a solid career at Ohio State, with some spectacular moments spliced in during his time in Columbus.

Heyward did not get a chance to show much during the combine; he is still recovering from the elbow surgery he had in the mid-January. Heyward said he tore ligaments in the second quarter of Ohio State's 31-26 win over Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

"But I finished the game," he said.

Heyward recently received clearance to start running and doing some light weightlifting. But he will still be limited during Ohio State's Pro Day at the end of March because of the length of his recovery process.

That may cause Heyward to slide in the draft, especially since it is such a deep class for defensive ends.

NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said as many as nine defensive ends could get taken in the first round. The Steelers took defensive end Ziggy Hood with their first-round pick two years ago, but they could still afford to get younger at the position.

"It's the best defensive end class I've seen," Mayock said.

That class includes the player who wants to be known as more than just Craig Heyward's son.

"I want to leave a legacy of my own," Heyward said.

Rivera appreciative

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera said interviewing with the Steelers four years ago helped him land his current job.

Rivera, who was hired by Carolina in January, was a finalist along with Russ Grimm for the job that Mike Tomlin ultimately got in 2007.

"After I had done my interview with them, I had an opportunity to be debriefed, talk about the things I needed to work on and improve during my presentations," Rivera said.

After the Panthers hired Rivera, he received congratulatory notes from Steelers chairman emeritus Dan Rooney and director of football operations Kevin Colbert.

"I really enjoyed the process, having gone through it (with the Steelers)," Rivera said. "If there were a group of people that were very thorough and very open-minded, it was the Rooney family and Kevin.

Save the date

Ben Roethlisberger apparently has big plans this summer.

The Steelers quarterback and his fiancee, Ashley Harlan of New Castle, are planning a July 23 wedding in Pittsburgh, according to

TMZ posted on its website a "save the date" card that Roethlisberger and his fiancee have sent to family and friends.

The location of the wedding is not known.

TMZ also posted part of the couple's wedding registry.

The more than 20 items listed, sold at Macy's and Crate & Barrel, ranged from bedding to wine glasses to serving dishes.

A sampling:

> > A Trellis Flock eight-piece queen comforter set costing $200

> > A Travel Smart steamer priced at $34.99

> > A Nambe' Trio Condiment set costing $185

> > A scarlet chaise priced at $1,199.



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