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Blog Entry

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Posted on: February 29, 2012 5:38 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 8:06 pm
 
Hines Ward was Super Bowl XL MVP and the face of the Steelers  for more than a decade. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

After 14 seasons, 1,000 receptions and 85 touchdowns, Hines Ward's tenure in Pittsburgh is all but over. It was once a matter of if, now it's when, and team president Art Rooney II provided those details Wednesday.

“We had a conversation today with Hines Ward and informed him that we plan to release him of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year,” Rooney told the team’s website.

“Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998 and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve. He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years. Hines’ accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Ward released a statement of his own (via NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano):

"This isn't how I wanted this chapter of my career to end. I did everything in my power to remain a Steeler and finish what I started here 14 years ago," he said. "I want to thank the organization, my teammates and coaches and everyone who made my run as a Steeler the best years of my life. To Mr. Rooney, thank you for allowing me to play for one of the greatest organizations in the world. To my fans and in particular, Steeler Nation, thank you for your support and all the great memories. I gave my heart and soul for you every down and I will always bleed black and gold. I do feel that I still have more football left in me and I am looking forward to playing in the NFL, again, this upcoming season."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac tweeted Wednesday that the organization felt that Ward had nothing left.

gerrydulac
Decision to release 86 was not about money. He could've offered to play for free and wouldn't matter. Coaches feel he can't play anymore.
2/29/12 7:12 PM

gerrydulac
Ward would have been Sunday inactive if Steelers kept him. They didn't want him taking a roster spot at expense of developing young player.
2/29/12 7:14 PM

The 2011 season was Ward's worst since his rookie campaign; he lost his starting job to second-year standout Antonio Brown and managed just 46 catches for 381 yards (and a career-worst 8.3 YPC average), and two touchdowns. Part of Ward's decline can be blamed on age (he's 35), but he also suffered a severely sprained ankle in Week 4's loss to the Texans.

Whatever the explanation, the Steelers are ready to move on without him, which means that the 2012 offense will feature quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing to Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace -- assuming the team extends his contract (he won't be franchised, at least to hear general manager Kevin Colbert at last week's combine). The three wideouts, none older than 25, constitute one of the league's most dynamic receiver corps, which should make new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's job a lot easier.

Ward, meanwhile, thinks he has a few years left. It just won't be in Pittsburgh -- unless the team re-signs him later this the summer, perhaps an option given that there are currently three wide receivers on the roster. More likely: the Steelers make a run at Jerricho Cotchery, who they signed to a one-year deal before the 2011 season to be the No. 5 wideout. By December, he had also surpassed Ward on the depth chart and proved to be a capable underneath target and a willing blocker.

While the Steelers continue their free agency and draft preparations, and Ward contemplates his NFL future, the conversation will inevitably turn to the latter's Hall of Fame credentials. In our minds, he's a lock. Then again, we don't have a vote.

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Comments

Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

@WacisWHACk.... You are garbage and no nothing about football.  Classless. lol A receiver that never took off a down of football. A WR that actually blocxked down field.  His smile every play showing how much he enjoyed the game. Don't hate the player, hate the game. You know nothing!

I'm garbage?  I "no" nothing about football?

Yeah, blocking downfield is what a WR should do.  I agree with that.  However, taking cheap shots is not what ANYONE should do; and Hines Ward was the king of that.  I know enough about football (and life) to know that taking a cheap shot is classless.



Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:52 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

I hope Hines Ward continues to play. He can still show some team that he has something left in the tank. He should play because he still has the drive to play. People want to see TO and Randy play , so why cant Hines continue to do what he loves to do? I want to see what he can do for another team. Come on down to Philly and help them Birds out Hines!



Since: Aug 29, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:44 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

What a brainless response. LMAO!!!!!



Since: Aug 29, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:40 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

@WacisWHACk.... You are garbage and no nothing about football.  Classless. lol A receiver that never took off a down of football. A WR that actually blocxked down field.  His smile every play showing how much he enjoyed the game. Don't hate the player, hate the game. You know nothing!



Since: Oct 21, 2007
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:39 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Hines Ward is welcome to come home to his home state of Georgia and play for  the Atlanta Falcons. Hines Ward would give a possession type receiver to go with Julio Jones and Roddy White. It also allows him to play in front of the fans who rooted for him when he played for UGA.



Since: Sep 26, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:29 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

A fitting end to a classless player that was consistently ranked among the dirtiest in the league year after year.  All those years he played for the black and gold...... and they threw him away like garbage. 



Since: Mar 2, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:19 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Oh the comment below where I said will instead of wife I hope is understood, she loved playing.



Since: Mar 2, 2010
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:13 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Thank you is about about all I can say his glory years will always be remembered.  His decision now is up to him and his comment about bleeding black and gold forever I take as true and his play has shown it.  He will always go down in history as one of the steelers great wideouts if the steelers ever decide to put statues at the stadium he'll be one of them.  From his blocking to receptions he was a complete player, personnally I had hoped he'd go out a steeler I just don't want to wait and see him fizzle out some where else and take away from his true greatness but he'll be in the hall of fame along with the corp of other steelers.

Oh my will always love your smile and those puffy cheeks,
Good bye Hines and thank you

R. Sladisky



Since: Nov 17, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2012 12:06 pm
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

These comments about him "sacrificing himself" for the Steelers for so many years are absolutely laughable. Hines Ward was paid millions of dollars throughout his life for playing a sport that little to no impact on life. He got paid to have fun. Football is fun. It's dangerous....but make no mistake about it--> he got his. Don't feel bad for a guy that's going to retire in his 30's that has more money than a brain a 60-year-old brain surgeon who's ten times more skillful, educated, and has contributed ten times more to this world than Ward ever will. Sure, he's a cool guy who played hard- but let's have a reality check here.



Since: Oct 30, 2007
Posted on: March 1, 2012 11:30 am
 

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Are any other NFL teams interested in a broken down 36 year old WR? He had a good career but it's clearly over. Too bad he didn't hang them up last season and spare his reputation. Good luck playing golf hines.


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