Pittsburgh Steelers star Cam Heyward is still looking to play in the NFL as he enters his age-35 season. The defensive lineman has declared his desire to play only for Pittsburgh and head coach Mike Tomlin. But some contract details must be ironed out before Heyward gets back on the field.

Heyward is not expected to show up at organized team activities this offseason as he and the Steelers negotiate a contract extension. This would be the first time Heyward missed a team workout in his 13 seasons with the organization. Until he gets his new deal, the Steelers will start offseason workouts without their longest-tenured player.

The Steelers have had contract talks with Heyward, according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, but they talks so far don’t appear to be very substantial.

Dulac writes the following: “The Steelers have had a ‘discussion’ with Heyward about a contract extension, but it has been nothing more than that, according to team sources. Heyward did not tell the Steelers about his threat to skip OTAs, preferring to announce it on his podcast, ‘Not Just Football.’…The Steelers have not and do not intend to ask Heyward to take a pay cut this season.”

Cam Heyward will not attend Steelers' OTAs without contract extension

The Steelers, Dulac notes, have lots of respect for Heyward and are not aiming to cut into his current contract. It’s a great showing of respect, though it obviously eats into their flexibility for roster construction.

Heyward not being at OTAs is perhaps not the worst thing for the veteran star. Preserving his body for the long days of training camp and eventually the regular season may be the way to go for someone with so much mileage. After 202 games across the regular season and playoffs, Heyward has pushed his body extremely hard.

T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith are the Steelers' two key building blocks on the front seven with Minkah Fitzpatrick manning the secondary. Larry Ogunjobi and Keeanu Benton played big roles last season and their responsibilities will only increase as Heyward ages further.

The Steelers still benefit from having Heyward, especially as a leader and culture setter. While his holdout isn’t as worrisome as others around the league, Pittsburgh hopes to resolve the issue eventually.