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lamberts-lost-tooth
11-19-2008, 09:34 AM
Ward wears target proudly
By Mike Bires
Times Sports Staff
Published: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 12:01 AM EST
PITTSBURGH — Hines Ward is a marked man.

There’s been a bounty on his head.

The referees seem to be watching his every move.

And with Cincinnati coming to town Thursday night, there could be a revenge factor.

After all, it was Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers, who had his jaw broken by a ferocious Ward block earlier this year, who issued a “what goes around come around” warning.

“Always … every game, someone’s out there trying to hurt me. That’s part of football,” said Ward, the Steelers’ star wide receiver who’s been getting more attention for his blocking than for the prolific statistics he racks up.

Several weeks ago, Baltimore linebacker Terrell Suggs admitted there was a bounty on Ward when the Steelers hosted the Ravens on Sept. 29. Suggs told an Atlanta sports talk show that “The bounty was out on 86. We just couldn’t get to him between the whistle.”

When the NFL investigated that bounty threat, Suggs apologized and was not fined by the league.

Ward was fined twice for unnecessary roughness before the Oct. 19 game in Cincinnati — $5,000 for a block against the Ravens, and then $10,000 for a block in the Oct. 5 game against Jacksonville.

Then in the first quarter of the Steelers’ 38-10 win in Cincinnati on Oct. 19, Ward shattered Rivers’ jaw with a block on a running play. For Rivers, the Bengals’ first-round pick in this year’s draft, his rookie season was over.

“Personally, I didn’t think it was dirty,” Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh said of Ward’s hit on Rivers. “It was just unfortunate how it happened. The result of what happened to Keith makes it look like it was worse that what it really was.

“When he first hit him, I was like, ‘Wow! That’s a nice crack block.’ With Keith having to have his mouth wired shut and get surgery, it makes it worse than it really was.”

When asked if all the Bengals share that opinion, Houshmandzadeh said, “I am not sure … maybe the guys on defense might feel differently.”

Bengals coach Marvin Lewis agreed.

When asked if he believes there’s any animosity between the Bengals and Ward, Lewis said, “Well I’m sure there is. Unfortunately our player was injured and you know there’ll be some revisions I’m sure to the rules after the season on that.”

Ward, the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver, said he has no intentions of changing the way he plays.

“Any player in the league, you don’t want to go out and intentionally end (someone’s) season. But it’s a part of football,” he said. “When (Ravens linebacker) Ray Lewis hit (Steelers rookie running back) Rashard Mendenhall and ended his season, there was no apology Ray sent to us. So I’m not going to apologize for what I did.

“I don’t know about my reputation,” Ward added. “I know players on my team know each and every week I come to the stadium, I’m going to put it all on the line, I’m going to give it 110 percent and do what it takes to win games.

“For people to call me (a) cheap shot or dirty, if I was really trying to hurt Rivers, I would have blocked him low, taken out his knees and ended his career if I wanted to. But I’m not that type of player. I’m a 32-year-old, and I threw 200 pounds at a huge linebacker who is running full speed. I made a good block on him. It was a legal hit and unfortunately he got his jaw broken.

“If I go across the middle, I know those guys are going to hit me the same way, so why should I wait around for me to get hit?”

But as Ward vows to keep playing the way he always has, there are some in the organization who wonder if the NFL and game-day officials are paying a little more attention to him. After all, he was flagged for three penalties (two holding calls and an illegal block violation) in Sunday’s 11-10 over San Diego.

“Yes, I think they are because he’s a good blocker and a hard hitter,” quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said when asked if the referees are targeting Ward.

“(The league) wants to keep guys healthy, so they know Hines is a physical guy and a hard blocker. You know, I don’t want to sit here and say Hines’ reputation precedes him and that’s why they called those penalties, so I’m not going to speak on the refs. But yes, I think they’re probably watching him.”

http://www.timesonline.com/articles/2008/11/19/sports/steelers/doc49239d3751fc1669460125.txt

tony hipchest
11-19-2008, 11:41 AM
i wonder if tj douchebag or panocha stinko are gonna retailiate and try and break james harrisons jaw... :coffee:

TackleMeBen
11-19-2008, 11:42 AM
i wonder if tj douchebag or panocha stinko are gonna retailiate and try and break james harrisons jaw... :coffee:
those two little sticks couldnt break paper moreless harrison. he is a huge guy...lol

stlrtruck
11-19-2008, 12:02 PM
What's sad is Ward will probably be flagged for hitting another LB or DB too hard. But Ward is right in that if it was the LB or DB knocking his head off, the NFL wouldn't think twice about it...

SCSTILLER
11-19-2008, 12:11 PM
I like the fact that the defense gets worried about our WR, hopefully they will be worried about Hines coming in to nail them and kinda lose sight of what is really going on with the play.

T.Richardson
11-19-2008, 05:07 PM
I like the fact that the defense gets worried about our WR, hopefully they will be worried about Hines coming in to nail them and kinda lose sight of what is really going on with the play.

I find it funny that opposing teams are worried about a 32 yr old WR instead of a 250 pound LB. Ward will be on the refs eyes, if he touches a LB, he'll probably get fined.

Preacher
11-19-2008, 05:08 PM
i wonder if tj douchebag or panocha stinko are gonna retailiate and try and break james harrisons jaw... :coffee:

:rofl:

Oh I would love to see that attempt!

SteelerFanInCA
11-19-2008, 05:12 PM
i wonder if tj douchebag or panocha stinko are gonna retailiate and try and break james harrisons jaw... :coffee:

I don't think both of those guys together could break harrisons jaw.

19ward86
11-19-2008, 06:33 PM
He is superman, he cant be beat down.

Galax Steeler
11-20-2008, 04:39 AM
i wonder if tj douchebag or panocha stinko are gonna retailiate and try and break james harrisons jaw... :coffee:

That would be funny seening them trying to do that.:sofunny:

MasterOfPuppets
11-20-2008, 09:34 AM
there’ll be some revisions I’m sure to the rules after the season on that.”seriously .....what the hell can they change? make it illegal to block someone unless they're looking at you ? :jerkit: