PASSAIC, N.J. — A city that has given the world the Shirelles, Jack Tatum and Donald Fagen prepares to honor another favorite son Saturday.
A football field and street in front of School Number 11 will be dedicated to the late football player Craig “Ironhead” Heyward.
Heyward, a running back, was a first-round pick in the NFL Draft for the New Orleans Saints.
Childhood friend and School 11 classmate John Willis said Heyward embarked on a legendary career at Passaic High School and the University of Pittsburgh before he made it to the NFL.
Heyward, known as a big and punishing running back, died in 2006 from brain cancer. He set a Passaic High School rushing record with 5,142 yards and scored 75 touchdowns from 1980-83, leading his team to three state championships.
Heyward played for the New Orleans Saints, Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, and Indianapolis Colts in an 11-year NFL career.
The request to name the field after Heyward came from “Doing It in the Park” organizers. Mayor Hector Lora said he welcomed the idea.
“When our kids can see someone who came from similar or the same upbringing and that person achieved success they begin to believe they can do the same or surpass those achievements.” Lora said.