PITTSBURGH -- Depending on the gravity of the moment, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is known for his wild swings of emotions after touchdowns. He might stay calm. Or he might pump his fist, bark wildly and spastically head-butt teammates.
Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward doesn’t want to see that behavior in Gillette Stadium on Thursday night.
When asked about quarterbacks such as Brady who sometimes go wild after scores, Heyward said it “ticks us off.”
“Means he’s celebrating on us,” Heyward said. “We don’t appreciate it, and we look forward to stopping it.”
Heyward with the And-1!
To be sure, Heyward said he wasn’t paying attention to Brady’s demeanor during the Patriots' 55-31 win over Pittsburgh in 2013. Heyward is speaking to a broader point that involves Brady: The Steelers must get stops.
“We’re never in the business to let any offense celebrate on us,” Heyward said. “It’s not going to stop us now.”
Lining up across from Brady has a different vibe than doing so against Andrew Luck, who will congratulate a defender on a good hit, or Philip Rivers, who talks more than the old dudes in pickup hoop games.
Brady doesn’t initiate conversation. He doesn’t chat much with opposing players during the game. He’s not a guy who small-talks much in pregame, either.
It’s the Kobe Bryant approach to gamesmanship.
“He’s not your friend out there,” said one veteran Steelers defender in the locker room this week.
Heyward and defensive tackle Steve McLendon say they don’t remember Brady saying much of anything to them at the line of scrimmage in past games.
McLendon said he’s hit Brady once but that Brady got the ball off, and the two didn’t say anything to each other after the play.
“Brady is a competitor, and we all know that,” McLendon said. “He’s going to come out there and try to find a weakness in the defense. We have to keep disguising and do whatever it takes to play against him. He’s a good guy. He’s going to change everything [at the line], so you have to stay focused on what we do, don’t let them dictate our game.”
Heyward respects Brady's game and looks forward to playing him ... and he hopes that he, not the Patriots quarterback, is the one doing the fist-pumping. "There might be some times where he might jab back and forth, but he’s very composed, always focused at the task at hand," Heyward said of Brady. "If they want to talk, they want to talk. Just be ready to back it up."