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Cam Heyward returns to practice Thursday and opens his 21-day window

The Pittsburgh Steelers made a somewhat surprising move on Thursday announcing that long-time Steelers’ captain Cam Heyward is returning to practice and has opened his 21-day window to come back onto the Steelers 53-man roster.

With players typically coming back for the first practice the week, Heyward joins the Steelers in their second practice preparing for the Jacksonville Jaguars. While this appears uncommon at first look, Heyward is a player who typically received a veterans day off each week. So with Heyward missing one practice before rejoining the team and only having two practices in during the week is not something that would be strange to him.

While it would be a welcomed return for Heyward to play against the Jaguars this Sunday at Acrisure Stadium, it is far from a foregone conclusion. With the Steelers having a short week after their game on Sunday, if Heyward was eyeing a return in Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans it would be beneficial for him to get in some practices this week to be better prepared. Even though he has returned to practice, Heyward could still miss the Steelers next three games before he would have to come back on the 53-man roster or remain on IR for the rest of the season.

Injuring his groin in Week 1 versus the San Francisco 49ers, Heyward only played 14 defensive snaps before exiting the game. Having sports hernia surgery, it was believed Heywood would return in 2023 but returning to practice before November is a welcomed surprise. Hayward was seen yesterday working out on the field to test his injury.

This now has both Cam Heyward and Anthony McFarland Jr. with the designated to return status. Should one of them be ready to return for Sunday, the Steelers have an one roster spot as they currently only have 52 active players.

In his 13th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Heyward has made six consecutive Pro Bowls dating back to the 2017 season and also has three All-Pro selections over the same timespan. The last time Heyward missed a significant portion of a season was back in 2016 in which he only played seven games. For his career, Heyward has 78.5 sacks and is closing in on second place on the all-time Steelers list behind T.J. Watt.

Whether or not the Steelers get Heyward back for any the next three games is yet to be determined. But having the Steelers veteran captain back on the field before the Steelers have back-to-back road AFC North games later in November will be a welcomed addition.

Stay tuned to Steel Curtain Network’s continued coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers as they prepared to host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Sunday at 1 PM.


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