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 22, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:51 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Hines Ward is not a wasted roster spot on any team. Although he has slowed in the past two years, his knowledge of the game and continued great hands are an asset to the Steelers. Is Wesley Walker of the Pats taking up a roster spot even though he is not the fastest receiver on the field. Hell NO! He is consistent, runs good underneath patterns, not afraid to go over the middle or block...the same attributes as Hines Ward. I really do hope the Steelers Management see this when working out a future deal with Hines. Good luck to him.

Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 9:43 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Even at the vet. minimum hines Ward is a waste of a roster spot. Give the spot to a RFA and hope to get something out of it. Ward isn't going to see the field anyway. He has nothing left in the tank. If he wants to be a cheerleader give him some meaningless coaches title.

Since: Oct 23, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 6:56 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

I hear you Hines.

Since: Jan 17, 2012
Posted on: February 13, 2012 12:28 am

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Hines never seemed to be able to regain his form after he was concussed (took that illegal hit) from ray lewis in the Baltimore game.  The hit was as illegal as they get BUT there was no penalty, LOL.  In my opinion Hines was never the same after that.  I think he should retire (as much as I appreciate what he has done for the Steeler organization) because I would not want to see him sustain another concussion which may have more devastating effects.  He is a marked man under the new NFL as is Harrison as is the entire Steeler Organization.  The owners and the players don't want to play REAL football anymore, they would rather play a tag or a "THIS IS ABOUT ME AND NOT THE FANS" kind of game.  They are gutting the game I grew up with and are replacing it with a G rated, make believe pretender of a hilghly physical sport.  If I had the money and the connections I would form a new league and go back to the old rules, with players freely signing releases to earn top dollars and giving the fans a real game to watch.  I would bet in a few years the NFL as we know it would go back to the old rules or would be non-existant because the masses would want to see the game the way it was meant to be played.  Retire Hines, Thanks for the memories.    

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: February 12, 2012 11:06 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

I like the way Ward plays old school but its time to hang them up. Production is way down the ;ast couple of years and time to let the young guys play.

Since: Sep 21, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2012 9:47 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Just wondering, but how much is an NFL decoy worth nowadays? 

Since: Jan 10, 2011
Posted on: February 12, 2012 6:56 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

caracter?  Learn to spell.  The guy plays the way the game is supposed to be played.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: February 12, 2012 5:08 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

Ward has read the writing on the wall. He is willing to restructure his contract because he knows some money is better than no money. However, because he is in the last year of his contract it's not realistic for the Steelers to restructure his contract. The only feasible way for Ward to remain a Steeler, if that's his wish, is for the Steelers to cut him before March 1 and re-sign with Pittsburgh for less money. Of course, free agency comes into play then. There's only one knucklehead, a.k.a. Daniel Snyder, in the NFL that would be willing to pay Ward more than his market value. But who knows, maybe Ward gets a couple of offers? Does he take the money and run or does he honor the under the table gentleman's agreement, that no doubt will be offered by the Steelers, to take less money than offered by other teams to remain a Steeler? My bet is he signs with whomever, should anyone, offer more money than the Steelers. It's in his caracter. Because in spite of all the love he's received on this board, what some people have forgotten is that Ward is also has a reputation as a cheap shot artist. If he can enhance his position by screwing someone else, he will.

Since: Mar 21, 2010
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:48 pm

Report: Ward won't return to Steelers in 2012

It's doubtful he'll be back. Anyone on here preaching about loyalty obviously knows nothing about the Rooneys. They let Bradshaw go, they let Franco go, if Bettis didn't retire he'd have been let go also. Not to mention all the others.
I really hope he just retires, he really wouldn't look right in another uniform.
Excellent points chris-g2. It looked so wrong seeing Franco Harris in a Seattle Seahawks jersey and it is an image that still seered into my mind all of these years later. I would feel the same way about Hines Ward wearing a uniform other than that of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Since: Feb 12, 2012
Posted on: February 12, 2012 3:41 pm
This comment has been removed.

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