Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, an 11 year NFL vet who featured at running back for the Colts, Falcons, Saints, Bears and Rams, passed away Saturday at the age of 39. Heyward had been battling brain cancer for some time.
The 24th overall selection in the 1988 NFL Draft, Heyward ran for 2950 yards during his tenure at the University Of Pittsburgh before coming out as junior.
My own memories of Heyward is that he was a dependable 3rd down option early in his career for some teams that we’ll charitably call not-so-great and a big (well, wide) guy who took a lot of punishment. Heyward rushed for 1083 yards while with the Falcons in ’95 and went to the Pro Bowl that season, his finest campaign as a professional.
He was also superb in a 1998 Zest commercial delivering the line, “but Ironhead, what’s with this thingy?”