How Devon Still's 'Leah Strong' eye black could help Cam Heyward's appeal

Defensive end Cameron Heyward and the Steelers defense had a productive day against the Packers in Sunday's preseason game. AP Photo/Don Wright

The NFL on Tuesday will hear Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end's Cameron Heyward's appeal of a $5,787 fine for wearing eye black honoring his father, Craig ‘Ironhead’ Heyward, and during that call Heyward’s camp will point out an important precedent set last season.

Former Bengals defensive tackle Devon Still, whose daughter Leah was an inspiration in her battle with Stage 4 neuroblastoma, wore ‘Leah Strong’ on his eye black multiple times last season. He did not receive a fine for the practice. Heyward has consulted Still on the matter.

Heyward, meanwhile, could incur a second fine of $11,576 for wearing “IRON” and “HEAD” under his eyes in back-to-back games. Craig Heyward, a former NFL fullback, battled cancer before his death in 2006.

Heyward said he’s worn the eye black in the past and plans to continue wearing it. He hopes the league understands, and on Monday he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette he’d like the chance to explain his reasoning to commissioner Roger Goodell.

"I care about this league, but I also care about people who are struggling,” Heyward told the outlet Monday. “I understand the struggles they go through. My dad went through that struggle, and I saw it every day."