Steelers pick up Cameron Heyward’s fifth-year option

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The Steelers have exercised their 2015 option on defensive end Cameron Heyward, the club said Tuesday morning.

The move comes after the 24-year-old Heyward had a breakout 2013 season for Pittsburgh, setting career-highs in tackles (59) and sacks (five). He also defended seven passes. Most importantly, he established himself as a core member of a defense that has desperately needed to get younger.

The Steelers selected the 6-foot-5, 288-pound Heyward with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2011 draft. He was a backup in his first two NFL seasons before garnering a starting role in 2013.

According to salary figures reported last week by NFL Media’s Albert Breer, Heyward is slated to make $6.969 million in 2015.

An Ohio State product, Cameron Heyward is the son of the late Craig “Ironhead” Heyward, who had an 11-season NFL career as a running back / fullback.