Skip to main content

BLACK HISTORY MONTH IN NJ: A Salute to Passaic's Craig "Ironhead" Heyward

By rlsmetro on

When Heyward was a child, he was at the Boys & Girls Club in Passaic when another boy approached him and ultimately broke a pool cue over Heyward's head.

Heyward barely flinched, and after relating the story later, his grandmother called him "Ironhead," and the nickname stuck, according to a report published by his son. The New York Times published an article referencing that in street football games, Heyward would lower his head into the stomach of the tackler and one opponent said it hurt so much that Heyward's head must be made of iron. Heyward played for

The Passaic High School football then got the (24th pick overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft out of the University of Pittsburgh team. The New Orleans Saints selected him in the first round; Heyward's 3,086 career rushing yards rank third all-time at Pitt in only three seasons.

He declared himself eligible for the 1988 draft after his junior year. In 1987 at Pittsburgh, Heyward rushed for 1,791 yards to earn consensus All-America honors and finish fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.

Heyward died on May 27, 2006, at the age of 39, a year after another cancerous tumor developed that had metastasized to his brain; the recurrence of the tumor proved to be inoperable. Heyward had also experienced a stroke in the years before his death.


SPONSORS: Metro Media Institute of Harrison, Nino's Pizza, Bergen Street Harrison NJ, and William Paterson University