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stillers4me
04-13-2008, 12:44 PM
I got this in my google alert email.........it reminded of what a great football player and great person we Steelers fans have in Hines Ward. The day he retires (hopefully still Steeler) will be as bittersweet for me as when Jerome retired. (One can only hope Hines will get to announce his retirement with a Lombardi trophy in his hands! :applaudit:)

Ward delivers hit at sports banquet

By Cory Giger, cgiger@altoonamirror.com POSTED: April 13, 2008

Hines Ward was the guest speaker Saturday at the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.
Men respect him. Women adore him. Kids look up to him.

Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Hines Ward has a universal appeal that makes it nearly impossible not to like him.

He’s a tough guy. Just look at the hits he takes and delivers.

He’s a sweetheart. Just look at that ever-present smile.

He’s a role model. Just watch how he behaves on and off the field.

‘‘I just love life,’’ said Ward, the featured speaker at Saturday night’s Blair County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet. ‘‘I’m living my dream, and to be able to play in the NFL and wear the black and gold every day is a blessing for me.’’

Many Steelers fans would say the true blessing is having a player and person of Ward’s caliber on the team. The MVP of Super Bowl XL is one of the most respected players in the NFL and epitomizes Pittsburgh sports.

‘‘We’re just a blue-collar city,’’ Ward said, ‘‘and the fans, they know football, the whole ‘Steeler Nation.’ They know who’s out there, who’s putting it all on the field, and they respect that.’’

Ward has made a career of catching tough passes over the middle, and instead of running out of bounds like most receivers, he usually lowers his shoulder to deliver vicious hits on defensive players.

Also separating Ward from many of his peers is how he reacts after such a play. Rather than talking trash, he pops up and flashes a big smile that has become his trademark.

‘‘You can’t beat that smile,’’ said Megan McCloskey, 23, of Bellwood, who showed up to Saturday’s banquet with a Ward jersey and a purse with his No. 86 on it.

‘‘Hines Ward just comes across as so genuine,’’ McCloskey added. ‘‘He just exudes sportsmanship.’’

Ward didn’t hesitate when asked why it appears he’s always having so much fun.

‘‘I’m passionate about football,’’ he said. ‘‘I love everything, from getting tackled to playing football in the mud.’’

Ward let out a big laugh when talk of his crossover appeal came up, and he seemed well aware that he probably has just as many female fans as males.

‘‘A lot of females, they compliment me on my smile because it says when things are sad, they look at me for inspiration and it helps them get through the day,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s rare that you’ll really see a frown on my face. That’s just me living life. Life’s too short to be mad all the time.’’

Kids can learn how to play the game the right way by watching Ward. Several youngsters wore their No. 86 jerseys to Saturday’s banquet, including 8-year-old A.J. Labriola of Altoona.

‘‘I like when he slides and dives and catches the ball,’’ the young Steelers fan said.

Altoona Area High School football coach Phil Riccio said achieving the kind of success Ward has ‘‘comes from the character and the heart that the individual has.’’

‘‘If you have that type of character and that inside drive, you’re going to win and put yourself in position to be successful,’’ Riccio said. ‘‘That’s the type of thing we want our kids to aspire to.’’

Ward is the Steelers’ career leader in receptions (719), touchdown receptions (65) and receiving yardage (8,737), and he’s likely to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame after he retires.

The 32-year-old is preparing for his 11th season with the Steelers, and he knows he has to keep his body in shape because of the physical beating he takes.

‘‘I have to stay in pace with the younger guys because there’s a lot out there gunning for me, trying to knock the smile off my face,’’ he said.

No one has knocked the smile off yet, and it may never happen given Ward’s attitude about life and his career.

‘‘I’m very blessed,’’ Ward said. ‘‘I’m just happy and ecstatic that I’m doing something that I always dreamt [about] as a kid.’’

http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/content.detail/id/506457.html?nav=742&showlayout=0
Check out the great picture.....lookin' good, Hines!

MasterOfPuppets
04-13-2008, 01:10 PM
we'll see how much hines loves wearing the B & G when he's asked to restructer his deal, or take a pay cut.

Ward is the Steelers? career leader in receptions (719), touchdown receptions (65) and receiving yardage (8,737), and he?s likely to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame after he retires. hines is gonna have to have a couple more pro bowl like years to even get nominated for the HOF. there's some guys with pretty impressive resumes, that are still waiting to even get to the final ballot.

stillers4me
04-13-2008, 01:12 PM
we'll see how much hines loves wearing the B & G when he's asked to restructer his deal, or take a pay cut.

hines is gonna have to have a couple more pro bowl like years to even get nominated for the HOF. there's some guys with pretty impressive resumes, that are still waiting to even get to the final ballot.

My gut says he'll take the cut to retire a Steeler.

MasterOfPuppets
04-13-2008, 01:17 PM
My gut says he'll take the cut to retire a Steeler.

i hope so.....

Atlanta Dan
04-13-2008, 01:40 PM
My gut says he'll take the cut to retire a Steeler.

My gut says he will take the cut because he will not get a better deal somewhere else

millwalldavey
04-13-2008, 01:49 PM
I always feel so fortunate to root for a team that always seems to have such genuine human beings on it. So many of them seem to be such good guys, of have characters that make them stick out from every other teams players. So many unforgettable players that you can share the stories of many years down the line!

DACEB
04-13-2008, 02:04 PM
He?s a tough guy. Just look at the hits he takes and delivers.

He?s a sweetheart. Just look at that ever-present smile.

He?s a role model. Just watch how he behaves on and off the field.

Take note young ones. This is the kind of player you should be.

Ward has made a career of catching tough passes over the middle, and instead of running out of bounds like most receivers, he usually lowers his shoulder to deliver vicious hits on defensive players.

Also separating Ward from many of his peers is how he reacts after such a play. Rather than talking trash, he pops up and flashes a big smile that has become his trademark.

Up until this last season it would aggrevate me at times to see Hines smiling, when it seemed there was nothing to smile about (bad play, or losing, etc.). That was up until they played the Ravens, I believe. Hines was thrown the ball in the flat, and before the ball got there he was hit hard. A penalty was called on the defender, and Hines just got up like the hit was nothing. The whole time while walking back to the huddle he was smiling. That image you see all the time, him smiling. The next image is what caught my attention, and made me remember an old phrase; 'don't let the smile fool you'. As soon as he reached his teammates, still smiling, he said "f--king p--sy". That's when I knew that beneath the smile that man, or beast, was all business.

Many Steelers fans would say the true blessing is having a player and person of Ward?s caliber on the team. The MVP of Super Bowl XL is one of the most respected players in the NFL and epitomizes Pittsburgh sports.

There have been some criticisms over the years (Wines Hard), but we all have been TRULY BLESSED to have had him in B & G.

Hapa
04-13-2008, 02:50 PM
Actually that one Jags corner knocked a smile off his face :O

Dino 6 Rings
04-13-2008, 02:50 PM
With guys like Hines, it really adds to the history of our great franchise.

BettisFan
04-13-2008, 03:07 PM
oh man i hope he finishes here, he is such an amazing player and all round great guy! I will truly miss him.

HometownGal
04-13-2008, 03:20 PM
My gut says he will take the cut because he will not get a better deal somewhere else

My gut tells me that your gut is spot on. :chuckle:

You gotta love Hines. As tough as they come on the exterior but a heart of gold on the inside. He is the true definition of what a Pittsburgh Steeler(s) is. :thumbsup: I'd love nothing more than to see him retire in his black and gold #86 jersey. :applaudit:

19ward86
04-13-2008, 04:27 PM
definitaly my favorite player of all time.

tony hipchest
04-13-2008, 04:41 PM
My gut tells me that your gut is spot on. :chuckle:

You gotta love Hines. As tough as they come on the exterior but a heart of gold on the inside. He is the true definition of what a Pittsburgh Steeler(s) is. :thumbsup: I'd love nothing more than to see him retire in his black and gold #86 jersey. :applaudit:my gut says your gut is right about dans gut.

i think hines deserves to put up a lengthy career like j. rice, tim brown, troy brown, i. bruce, and m. harrison. i also think he is young enough and capable.

not at what l. fitzgerald and r. williams would command on the open market, though.

how does this sound? tear up his contract and give him a new one- 5 years/$24 mil./$12 mil guaranteed.

i would say that is fair market for a player of his calibur and much more modest than the deals porter and faneca took (even though hines probably has the greatest odds of outperforming).

however, this deal may even be a bit too rich, but give the rooneys and easy "opt-out".

millwalldavey
04-13-2008, 05:16 PM
He is as much if not more the face of the franchise along with Ben. I venture to lump Troy in the same group and 'maybe' Casey.

These are players that would break my heart to see elsewhere.

moedap
04-13-2008, 08:55 PM
Dont snooze on him getting a deal somewhere else. This is a copy cat league someone will snatdh him up and use him like the Pats use Welker. And you know what they will get production out of Hines.

Steelman16
04-13-2008, 08:57 PM
Hines is simply awesome. He truly is the (smiling) face of this franchise IMO.

I hope he retires a Pittsburgh Steeler! :tt02:

Bam Morris' Kin
04-13-2008, 08:59 PM
Strange we don't see similar stories about WVU, U. of Miami, or Florida State Penitentiary Alumni?!?! Those great "Academic Institutions" have people like Pac Man Jones & Najeh "The Shi.. I mean Crapper" Davenport to represent. Perhaps those guys need to invest in a bumper sticker that says "Beat Your Truck, Not Your Wife (Girlfriend, Stripper, or Any Female).

Seriously though, it's great to see these stories about class acts in the NFL. I wish the NFL would do more about promoting these guys to the general public. For example, we've all see the stories about how they're not promoting Jason Taylor (Local Product & Great person) on "Dancing With The Stars". Instead we're bombarded with clowns and thugs like Vick, Jones, Crapper, Henry, etc...

I'm starting to think that this is trickling down to college ranks. It seems every school is now having huge behavioral issues with players, who are no longer going to school to get an education and become men. Instead they go to college so they can "get that paper." Anyway, you know its a damn shame when Joe Pa , a man notorious for molding young men (although 33423 years old), has players like Terrell "Should have lost my scholarships for crimes in High School" Sales & Chris "Mashed potatoes sucked really bad so I'll pull a knife on someone" Bell running amuck in State College and PA in general.

Well Folks... to sum it all up... Good Work Hines!! Lets hope influences like him will make a positive impact on the young players and new draftees to come this year.

tony hipchest
04-13-2008, 09:42 PM
Dont snooze on him getting a deal somewhere else. This is a copy cat league someone will snatdh him up and use him like the Pats use Welker. And you know what they will get production out of Hines.every team in the league would pay hines vet minimum.

no team in the league would pay him $7+ mil per year.

its up to the steelers and hines to find and agree upon the middleground.

MasterOfPuppets
04-13-2008, 09:52 PM
every team in the league would pay hines vet minimum.

no team in the league would pay him $7+ mil per year.

its up to the steelers and hines to find and agree upon the middleground.35 yr old isaac bruce scored a 2 yr 6 million deal.......

Rhee Rhee
04-13-2008, 10:38 PM
im hoping dearly that he retires as a steeler and im sure he will get into the HOF one way or another...

please take a cut hines! and let's hope the rooney's value enough to keep him around and let's hope hines won't take the joey porter/ alan faneca mentality....

SteelersMongol
04-14-2008, 02:17 AM
...
Up until this last season it would aggrevate me at times to see Hines smiling, when it seemed there was nothing to smile about (bad play, or losing, etc.). That was up until they played the Ravens, I believe. Hines was thrown the ball in the flat, and before the ball got there he was hit hard. A penalty was called on the defender, and Hines just got up like the hit was nothing. The whole time while walking back to the huddle he was smiling. That image you see all the time, him smiling. The next image is what caught my attention, and made me remember an old phrase; 'don't let the smile fool you'. As soon as he reached his teammates, still smiling, he said "f--king p--sy". That's when I knew that beneath the smile that man, or beast, was all business.

There have been some criticisms over the years (Wines Hard), but we all have been TRULY BLESSED to have had him in B & G.

That's 1 of the things that I love about him. I don't know if I could ever b like him. You know, keep up the spirit no matter what happens.

This guy is like a King in Korea. Thanks to him lot of Koreans got 2 know about the Steelers. Koreans adore the guy. My cousin told me he'd see whole bunch of Koreans in Steelers jerseys & jackets any day (in Korea).

Galax Steeler
04-14-2008, 05:06 AM
I think hines would take a cut just to stay with the steelers,I don't think he has the big head like faneca and porter had.

CanadianSteel
04-14-2008, 11:39 AM
Hines is one of a very small list of players that I just couldn't bear to see in another uniform. I hope he retires as a Steeler, and if inducted into the HOF I would make the trip to Canton to see it !

Perfect Nickname I heard for Hines:

"The Smilling Assassin"

memphissteelergirl
04-14-2008, 01:23 PM
Hines Ward=True Steeler! :tt:

(...and nice pic of him too. Looove that smile)

Boomerang
04-15-2008, 04:08 AM
Hines is a hero to us Steelers and i hope he stays a Steeler all the way, he is a great role model for the younger guys.

vasteeler
04-15-2008, 11:09 AM
i too love ward and love to see him smiling after taking a wicked hit but i cant stand to see him smile after he drops a ball and we are losing and i have seen that several times

verks36
04-15-2008, 11:10 AM
nice read