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Marla Ridenour on Sports

Heyward had Tommy John surgery

By Marla Published: February 26, 2011

Ohio State defensive end Cameron Heyward revealed Saturday at the NFL Scouting Combine that he underwent elbow surgery Jan. 12 for an injury suffered in the second quarter against Arkansas in the Sugar Bowl.

Heyward said he had "UCL reconstruction,'' aka Tommy John surgery, on the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow.

Projected as a late first to third-round projection the April 28-30 draft, Heyward will be forced to skip Ohio State's pro day on March 11 and hold his own pro day on March 30. Even then, he won't be allowed to bench press.

"I'll be back in three months,'' Heyward said. "They won't have me benching, but I'm already starting to lift. I just got cleared to run last week. I've got my full motion back already.

"I'm a little disappointed I don't get to work out here. I wish I could be competing my butt off right now, because I'm itching at this chance. I'm salivating. It's a great opportunity to be here, to get to see all these great guys and great competition, you want to be a part of it."

Heyward said he was hurt when he fell and tried to catch himself, but another player fell on top of him, which ''tore some ligaments.'' He managed to finish the game.

Heyward, 6-foot-5 and 294 pounds, is considered best suited to play the 5-technique in a 3-4 scheme. He said he has no preference on a defensive line position.

"Whenever I'm going to go they're either going to add weight on or lose weight,' Heyward said. "Whoever I go to it's a privilege and I'll do what it takes.

"Going to Ohio State I've been in a 4-3 system where I can play end and tackle. We went to a 3-4 on third down and I played end. You've seen my dropping abilities, they're pretty good. I can play all over the line, I can play nose tackle, line up at 3-technique and 6-technique. It might have hurt my numbers, but it shows I can be more versatile. It's only going to benefit me.''

Heyward was asked about following in the footsteps of his father, the late Craig "Ironhead'' Heyward, who died at age 39 in 2006 after a seven-year battle with a brain tumor. "Ironhead'' Heyward played fullback for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams and Indianapolis Colts.

"It's his legacy. I want to leave a legacy of my own,'' Cameron Heyward said. "I don't want to live in his shadow, but he was a great player. He's always in my heart and I appreciate everything he's done. But I want to do everything on my own. I'm not asking anybody to give me a second look just because my dad was Ironhead. But they all know I have a big head just like him.

But Heyward said NFL scouts, coaches and executives have told him stories about his dad in Indianapolis.

"I remember hearing a story about him and Tony Siragusa, it was hilarious,'' Heyward said. "To see those guys around, it's a true pleasure. You can hear all these stories about your dad and it gives you great moments about him.''

Asked to relate the Siragusa story, Heyward said, "I don't think I can share it right now.''

Heyward said he doesn't mind the pressure that comes with being the son of an NFL player.

"I hope I've got pressure,'' he said. "I want to perform well. If guys are expecting a lot out of me, so be it because I'm a guy who's going to produce and give it all I've got.''



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