For the first round draft pick of 1988 the New Orleans Saints took a 5-11, 250 pound fullback from Pittsburgh named Craig Heyward. With nickname of “Ironhead”, it was obvious he was going to fun to watch.
A consensus All-American while at Pittsburgh he led the NCAA in rushing his senior year with 1791 yards and finished fourth in the Heisman balloting. He was the 24th player chosen in the 1988 draft.
He spent 5 seasons in New Orleans. He best season was in 1990 leading the team in rushing with 599 yards averaging 4.6 yards a carry and scoring 4 touchdowns on the ground. And while his stats may not have been as impressive as others, his only touchdown scored as a rookie against the Oakland Raiders in 1988 will forever be remembered by Saints fans. Ironhead literally blasted a hole through the middle of the Raiders defense on a 73-yard romp that left defenders on their backs as he ran over them. His best day as a Saint came in 1990 against the Bucs when he had 20 carries for 155 yards and 2 touchdowns. One touchdown was a 47 yarder. When he left after the 1992 season he had over 1800 yards rushing as a Saint and 14 touchdowns.
Unfortunately for Craig Heyward his last few seasons with New Orleans seemed to marked with injuries and discipline issues. He joined the Bears in 1993 before joining the Atlanta Falcons in 1994. He would stay with the Falcons until 1996. In 1995 he enjoyed his best year as a Pro rushing for 1083 yards scoring a total of 8 touchdowns and averaging 4.6 yards a carry. He played in his first and only Pro Bowl that year. He would spend time in St. Louis and Indianapolis before retiring in 1998 after a total of 11 seasons in the NFL. In 2006 he passed away at the age of 39 from brain cancer. His son, Cam Heyward, who plays for the Pittsburgh Steelers was recently fined for wearing the words “Iron Head” as eyeblack during the 2015 season as tribute to his father’s fight against cancer.
Craig “Ironhead” Heyward Career Statistics with the New Orleans Saints