Casey Hayward had one heck of a first season with the Chargers in 2016.
Just ten months after signing a new three-year pact with the Chargers, Hayward was a first-time Pro Bowler, the Chargers’ Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of the Year, and a second-team All-Pro. Hayward led the NFL and set a new career high with seven picks as he became the first Chargers defender to win the League’s interceptions title outright since 2007. Hayward also paced the Bolts with 23 passes defensed in 2016.
It’s safe to say that Hayward played the 2016 season with an angel on his shoulder. Just prior to the opening of Chargers training camp, Hayward learned that his mom, Tish, had succumbed after a lengthy battle with breast cancer. Together, she and Casey had overseen the Hayward’s Hands Foundation, which annually hosts a number of events, including a Thanksgiving Drive, a Christmas Toy Drive and a youth football camp in his native Perry, Ga. Prior to her passing in 2015, Tish was honored by NFL Mothers and Paradigm 360 for her work with Casey and the Foundation.
Hayward joined the Chargers from Green Bay, where he collected nine interceptions in four seasons, including a team-high six as a rookie in 2012. A second-round pick by the Packers out of Vanderbilt, Hayward also logged 39 passes defensed for the Pack, including a team-high 25 during that rookie campaign.
Hayward is one of three Caseys in his family.
His father is named Casey as is a half-brother.
Outside of football, Hayward enjoys bowling (his high score is a 240), binge-watching television shows on Netflix and writing poetry.
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Second-round pick (62) by Green Bay, April 27, 2012...signed with Packers, May 11...contract expired March 9, 2016...signed three-year contract with Chargers, March 15.
2016: Pro Bowl...Chargers Most Valuable Player and Defensive Player of Year...Associated Press and Pro Football Journal second-team All-Pro... team-high two passes defensed Sept. 11 at Kansas City...two interceptions in 38-14 win over Jacksonville Sept. 18...on first, tipped ball in air to self and caught it while laying on ground...Bolts converted that pick into touchdown for 14-0 lead...early second quarter interception and 21-yard return to set up field goal Sept. 25 at Indianapolis...Team Captain Oct. 13 vs. Denver...returned interception 24 yards for TD (second of career) in fourth quarter to get Bolts within 24-19 Oct. 30 at Denver...paced team with three passes defensed vs. Broncos, including another near INT...team-leading fifth interception of season Nov. 6 vs. Tennessee...returned pick 25 yards to Titans’ 15 which led to field goal and 19-7 lead... logged two passes defensed vs. Titans, including one on 1st-and-15 late in third quarter...on very next play, Chargers returned fumble 36 yards for TD and 33-21 lead...Nov. 13 vs. Miami, two-yard TFL in second quarter helped contribute toward three-and-out to which offense responded with TD for 10-0 lead... huge all-around game in 21-13 win at Houston Nov. 27...intercepted Brock Osweiler in second quarter of 7-7 game...offense scored TD on ensuing possession for 14-7 lead...led team with three passes defensed...also made huge play early in fourth quarter with Bolts up 14-7...on 3rd-and-goal play from eight, tackled 265-pound tight end Casey Fiedorowicz at two to prevent potential game-tying TD...Texans settled for field goal to make score 14-10 and Chargers essentially put game away with TD for 21-10 lead on ensuing drive...set new career high with seventh interception of season Dec. 4 vs. Tampa Bay...two passes defensed Dec. 11 at Carolina, including one on thirddown to force field goal try on game’s first defensive series...team-high two passes defensed Dec. 24 at Cleveland, including breakup in end zone on deep ball to Terrell Pryor...Team Captain Jan. 1 vs. Kansas City
2015: Season-high eight tackles and two passes defensed Nov. 1 at Denver...team-high 14 tackles in postseason.
2014: Interception Oct. 12 at Miami...second interception week later (Oct. 19) vs. Carolina...returned interception 82 yards for TD vs. Chicago Nov. 9 and fumble 49 yards for score vs. Philadelphia Nov. 16...first Packer since 1999 to score defensive TD in consecutive weeks and one of only two players in NFL in 2014 to score TDs on interception and fumble return...vs. Eagles, also threw key block during 75-yard punt return.
2013: Inactive Games 1-6 (hamstring)...season-high nine tackles vs. Chicago Nov. 4...aggrivated hamstring Nov. 10 vs. Philadelphia...placed on “Reserve-Injured” Nov. 23.
2012: Pro Football Weekly/PFWA All-Rookie...third in voting for AP’s NFL Defensive Rookie of Year...Defensive Rookie of Year and All-Pro (slot corner) by ProFootballFocus.com...NFL Defensive Rookie of Month (October) after four interceptions during month...three INTs Games 5-7, most by Packers rookie in three-game span since 1984...first NFL interception Oct. 7 at Indianapolis...paced team with two picks and four passes defensed Oct. 14 at Houston...first Packers rookie with multi-pick game since 1999...added another interception Oct. 21 at St. Louis...sixth pick of season Dec. 16 at Chicago...pick and 24-yard return set up touchdown for 14-7 lead over Bears.
COLLEGE: Second-team All-America as senior and two-time second-team All-SEC...played in 50 games with 37 starts and recorded 198 tackles, 15 interceptions, 46 passes defensed and three forced fumbles...school records for season (17) and career passes defensed...tied school mark for career interceptions...tied for third in nation in INTs (seven) as senior and tied for fifth (six) as junior...team’s defensive player of week after LSU and Georgia games as sophomore...played at Vanderbilt from 2008-11...sociology degree.
PERSONAL: Born in Perry, Georgia...Region 4-AAA Offensive Player of Year and all-state at Perry (Ga.) High...three-year team captain...member of squad’s leadership council...lettered four years in basketball and three years in track.