Blog Entry

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Posted on: February 11, 2012 10:33 am
Edited on: February 11, 2012 8:22 pm

By Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 8:21 p.m. ET: According to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Steelers sources are saying that no decision has been made regarding Hines Ward and his future.


We already knew big changes were coming to the Steelers, whether Ben Roethlisberger wants it or not. Former offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is out; former Chiefs head coach Todd Haley is in as the man who will run Pittsburgh’s offense. And we wonder how much power Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin really has.

Now, it seems like a distinct possibility that one of the organization’s all-time great receivers won’t return for 2012.

That’s according to’s Jason La Canfora, who said Friday that with all the contract and salary cap maneuvering the front office is doing, Ward’s $4 million salary and declining productivity might be too much bear and that he won't be back in Pittsburgh next season.

Already, Ward has said he will not retire and that he’d be willing to take a paycut with the Steelers because he wants to stay in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh's offensive upheaval
"I'd probably have to restructure my contract," Ward said last month. "That's fine with me. I recognize that. I'm telling you I want to be here, I'm telling you I'm willing to do that. And I understand the ramifications -- we have the cap number and stuff, but I want to be here."

Even with his reduced role in the Steelers offense -- Ward lost his starting position to Antonio Brown -- the team means so much to him that he’s willing to return for less money and less playing time.

"I'm just looking year to year, but I do want to play next year,” Ward said. “If they decide to part ways, I'll be devastated, but life's not over. I'm still young.

"My thing is, I want to be a Steeler, I'm here, I'm willing to restructure, do whatever. I don't want to be seen in another uniform but, if they decide to part ways, or whatever, I don't know, I'm not even thinking like that. I couldn't even fathom myself [in another uniform], but I still want to play football.”

Look for something to happen with Ward soon. If he’s still on the Steelers roster on March 1, he’s guaranteed to earn his 2012 salary. It’s seeming more likely, though, that if Ward wants to continue his illustrious career, he’ll have to do so somewhere other than Pittsburgh.

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Since: Feb 5, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 10:30 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

With all the talk thus far this off season about the Steelers trying to balance out their offense with a better rushing attack, what sense would it make to cut one of the best blocking receivers in the NFL?  Whether you feel he still has the skill, speed, and hands to be an effective target or not, he has been and continues to be one of the best blocking receivers of all time.  Show me a receiver on the Steelers' roster that blocks better than Ward.  You won't find one.  So if they really want a stronger rushing attack he may not be a bad guy to keep around.  Add the fact that he is unquestionably loyal and a consistent leader of the team and I have a hard time finding the argument to let him go.

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: February 14, 2012 12:26 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

All bringing him back will do is take away a spot from someone they can draft for the future. Just look at the Giants letting go of Steve Smith knowing they had Victor Cruz waiting in the wings. Unfortunately, Hines is that guy, the Steve Smith on the Steelers. Sorry, but the time has come for him to move on and get out of the way. Leave the game with dignity rather than embarrassing himself...he's through.   

Since: Aug 22, 2006
Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:33 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

i say bring him back...he's too experienced and with all the young speedsters he can find ways to get open...

Since: Aug 11, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:00 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Love Hines but i would rather have Jerrico as the 4th.
Bisness is Bisness as they say and i saw alot of drops from Hines and damn he is slow.

It's about winning a ring and he has been paid well, team needs to do what is best for the team.
Plus he cant play special teams which actually takes two roster spots away then.


Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:16 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Judging by the way the backups have played and inserting them into starting roles next year I'd say the team is rebuilding and not reloading. The next few years are going to be a struggle for the steelers. The Ravens are going to be good for another year or two before they go through the same process and the bengals look to be built to contend for a while. Even if they are the Bengals they have some solid young talent in key positions. The steelers arent going to fall off the grid but they aren't going to be a contender anytime soon.

Since: Oct 17, 2006
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:15 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

i still thik if Ward restructures he should stay...i think Arians took him off the field a lot because he wanted just to throw to the young WR's and forgot how reliable and good Ward can be in the middle of the field and on 3rd downs, and most importantly, in the red zone...they need to get Ward and Miller the ball in the red zone more often...Ward is a TD machine and always has a knack for getting open in tight coverage like that, plus its an area of the field that you dont have to be the fastest on the field to get open...i hope they keep him around for 1 more year, look what happened when Bettis took a big paycut to be a backup, they won the Super he would by far be the best 4th or 5th WR out there, and if he takes the paycut he knows the offense and is still agreat influsence on those young WR's...

one more thing is if they let Ward do that it sends a good teamwork message to younger players for when they get up there in age, this is what the Steelers do if it needs done, already 3 players have renegotiated their contracts to help with the salary cap, but the older players know on the Steelers to win sometimes you need to do thses things...its rare to have that on a team this day and age and it started with Jerome Bettis doing it in 2005.  he set the standard there, and players have been following in his footsteps since.  Letting Ward show that kind of loyalty to the steelers to stay on the team and retirre here, could send a huge message that a lot of players in the locker room wont soon forget. 

Since: Feb 13, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:56 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

This team is not 'rebuilding', as you say. That would be the colts. Reloading is the word you are looking for, and Hines ward can still have an impact on this offense.

Since: Feb 13, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:52 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Anybody who says Hines ward is a 'wasted roster spot' is not a real fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hines can still contribute to this team! He has never been scared to go over the middle for that 3 or 4 yard catch that a lot or WRs won't do. I believe that he would have a big impact because with Wallace, brown and sanders going deep that leaves Hines and Heath miller for the shorter routes which is what Arians forgot all about.

Since: Aug 10, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:52 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Hines Ward is worth keeping in my opinion, especially if he's willing to restructure his contract.  He's no longer a legit #1 WR, but he has a wealth of knowledge he could provide to a very junior WR corps.  I would bring him in, tell him what they can afford to pay him and let him decide.  He'll choose to be a Steeler!

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:01 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

He is a waste of a roster spot for the steelers right now. The team is rebuilding. They are going to let a bunch of vets go on defense. The team has cap issues for next season. Especially since the cap is not going up and could even be reduced. The team has a new OC and some talented young WR's. If hines was still #2 or #3 on the depth chart then I'd say keep him for his experience. But he's not. he's not a productive player anymore. And, given the rebuilding process it doesnt make sense to hold on to an aging vet in the twilight of his career when his spot could be given to someone with potential to help the team on special teams and possibly develop into a valuable part of the team. Hines had a good career. But the NFL is still a business and it's time to move on. It happends to every player in the NFL eventually. It's not a knock on what Ward accomplised. It's just the reality of the game.

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