Former NFL fullback Craig "Ironhead" Heyward, who played 11 seasons in the league with five different franchises, died here Saturday after a seven-year battle with a recurring brain tumor.
Heyward, who retired from the league following the 1998 season, was 39.
Heyward's tumor, known as a chordoma, and the inability of surgeons to completely remove it during two operations made his death not unexpected. Heyward also suffered a stroke a few years ago that left him partially paralyzed. But loved one thought he'd have a few more years left in him.
In 149 games [for the Saints, Falcons, Colts, Rams and Bears], Heyward registered 1,031 carries for 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns. He also posted 177 receptions for 1,559 yards and four touchdowns. His finest season came with the Falcons in 1995, when he rushed for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns and earned his lone Pro Bowl berth.