Tight end Connor Heyward ready to shift from family visitor to Steelers player in rookie minicamp

Connor Heyward is headed to a new home that should feel quite familiar to the sixth-round pick.

After all, he's been visiting his older brother at the Steelers' UPMC Rooney Sports Complex for some time. Now, though, it's his place of employment, too.

Connor Heyward begins his journey as his brother Cameron's teammate this week with his first practices spent as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers. He'll first have to process the surreal nature of it all before getting to work.

"I have been seeing familiar faces I have seen my whole life," Connor Heyward said, via the Steelers' official site. "Seeing my brother's teammates that are now my teammates is definitely different. It all hits home a little more. I went to my grandmas, my brothers, but coming here to where I now work is when it hit the most.

"I know where the practice fields are, the weight room and locker room, where most of the work gets done. Today was the first time I went upstairs where the meetings and game plan go on. I hadn't been there before. I feel like I should be here. I am just excited to be here and am ready to go. I have been working out, trying to stay in shape. Hopefully that translates over into (Friday's) practice."

A product of Michigan State, Heyward plays a polished tight end, but lacks the size typical of a player at his position in the NFL. A fullback or H-back role might end up suiting him best at the next level, but there's plenty of positive aspects associated with his fit with the Steelers: With exciting youngster Pat Freiermuth on the team, Heyward doesn't have to try to be a leading tight end.

Heyward can instead find his niche and work toward becoming the best possible player for his role, whatever it may end up being.

Such a process begins with rookie minicamp, where Heyward will transition from being a visiting family member to one of 90 players. He'll hope to find himself as one of 53 by the time training camp finishes. Although the first camp can bring plenty of new challenges to rookies, he'll have a quality role model and mentor in someone he's known his whole life: his brother. Now he's not just his sibling -- he's Heyward's teammate.

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