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View Full Version : Hines Ward leads the NFL in receiving at the age of 33


Galax Steeler
10-22-2009, 05:02 AM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


On a gorgeous fall afternoon, Hines Ward left his workplace yesterday with a good three hours of sunlight remaining. Enough to get in a little golf?

"No," Ward, 33, said. "I'm going to go sleep in my hyperbaric chamber. It's my fountain of youth."

Who could argue? Ward not only is off to the fastest start of his 12-year career with the Steelers, but he also is atop the NFL receiving statistics this week. No Steelers receiver has ever led the league, but more than a third of the way through this season no one has more than Ward's 599 yards. He and Steve Smith of the New York Giants are tied for the league lead with 41 receptions.

At that rate, he'll catch 109 passes for nearly 1,600 yards.

"I would hope people would be proud of me," Ward said. "There's a guy 33 years old leading the league."

Ward earlier exposed the myth that a Steelers receiver could not break into the top echelon in the league when he caught 112 passes for 1,329 yards in 2002, both team records.

But that occurred when he was 26. Who saw this coming? Part of it has to do with coordinator Bruce Arians' open-air attack, part to the no-huddle offense, part to Ben Roethlisberger and also to Ward's ability to, well, stay young and healthy.

"I'm having the best time of my life," he said. "I'm having fun. This is definitely fun. I look forward to Sundays."

Ward kept the hyperbaric oxygen chamber that he credits with helping him return from a sprained MCL in his knee to play in the Super Bowl two weeks after it was injured in the AFC championship game. He said he gets into the thing four times a week, for preventive medicine, a.k.a. his fountain of youth.

He also had rotator cuff surgery on a shoulder after the 2008 season, but he's playing like new today.

"This is great. I'm having the most fun I had in 12 years because when I was younger, it was all about the stats and trying to make the money. Got the money, made the Pro Bowls. When I got closer to 10,000 yards that was like a milestone. I said if I get 10,000 I'm going to retire."

Of course, that did not happen after he hit 10,000 career yards this season. He's signed through 2012 and believes he could make it to the end of that contract.

"I'm still here," said Ward, who credits coach Mike Tomlin for giving him Wednesdays off at practice as another tonic. "When I retire is the day when I watch on film and say the Hines I know can beat this guy and then I can't get open on this guy. Then I'm done, because I don't want to end on that note. I want to go out on top."

He's on top of the NFL now. It looked as if the only Steelers receiver to have four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons would experience no more when he dipped below 1,000 between 2005-07, to a low of 732. But he rebounded with 1,043 yards last season and is blowing that away today.

His yards per reception also has increased, by nearly 2 yards over last season to 14.6, which would be the highest of his career as a starter.

"Not bad for a guy without speed, right?" Ward said.

He always has been somewhat of a possession receiver, playing next to deep threats such as Plaxico Burress and then Santonio Holmes and Nate Washington and now rookie Mike Wallace. But with the no-huddle has come some deeper routes for Ward, who has the team's longest reception of the season, a 52-yard touchdown against Cleveland, and another of 41 yards.

"People ask how long I will play, I don't know how long. It's just a great feeling to go out there and help contribute. All the guys -- Heath [Miller] is catching TDs and his stats are right up there, Santonio is on pace for 1,000 yards. Mike Wallace is coming in and giving us great splash plays. Ben is having a Pro Bowl year.

"It's great to be part of that mix because I wasn't supposed to be in the mix being I was 33."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09295/1007470-66.stm


Sorry if already posted.

solardave
10-22-2009, 05:32 AM
I don't care if he sleeps in a bear cave as long as he keeps playing like this. He's just awesome so far this year. If you factor in the few he's dropped that normally he'd catch he'd be blowing all receivers away right now.

Angus Burgher
10-22-2009, 11:18 AM
Yeah, Ward is playing fantastic this year. I think that the offense as a whole is better than I've ever seen it, quite honestly. If the defense can reclaim its place as the best in the league, I honestly believe we can go 14-2 in the regular season, like some sports writer predicted a little while ago.

The_WARDen
10-22-2009, 11:23 AM
Wait...I thought Holmes was replacing him as the #1 on the team.

:doh:

Steelboy84
10-22-2009, 11:27 AM
I bet T.O. can't even sleep at night knowing this.

:chuckle:

memphissteelergirl
10-22-2009, 11:30 AM
I bet T.O. can't even sleep at night knowing this.

:chuckle:

I know...doncha just love it? :applaudit:

Steelboy84
10-22-2009, 11:31 AM
I know...doncha just love it? :applaudit:

lol Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

:tt03: :thumbsup: :hatsoff: :applaudit: :rofl: :popcorn: :drink: :tt:

Angus Burgher
10-22-2009, 11:51 AM
But... we're forgetting about what's really important here. No matter how impressive Ward's stats might be, Chad Ochocinco has the most twitter posts of any WR in the NFL. That puts him leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.

stlrtruck
10-22-2009, 12:51 PM
Just Hines being Hines

stb_steeler
10-22-2009, 01:37 PM
Hines will always be great. He has that great go get em attitude, he plays with heart. You can just see how he loves the game. Im glad to see he's goin to give us another 2 years, maybe more we hope.


HINES RULES

revefsreleets
10-22-2009, 01:47 PM
But... we're forgetting about what's really important here. No matter how impressive Ward's stats might be, Chad Ochocinco has the most twitter posts of any WR in the NFL. That puts him leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else.

And he leads in the second and third most important stat categories as well:

2. Gold teef
3. Coaches punched

Although Tom Cable looks to be making a run at the second one there...

steelreserve
10-22-2009, 01:51 PM
Ward could honestly play until he's 40 if we keep this receiving corps together. When you have that many weapons, they all make each other better.

markymarc
10-23-2009, 12:48 PM
We are truly blessed to have Ward playing at such a high level year after year. Here's to Ward getting another 100 yard receiving game on Sunday.

Steelboy84
10-23-2009, 12:48 PM
Ward could honestly play until he's 40 if we keep this receiving corps together. When you have that many weapons, they all make each other better.

And he only gets better with age. Most receivers can't say that.

SteelMember
10-23-2009, 01:54 PM
Keep it up, Hines!

http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/156509/hines_ward3.jpg

omg! Is that ring *#@&ing HUGE, or what. :jawdrop:

Steeldude
10-23-2009, 02:12 PM
Wait...I thought Holmes was replacing him as the #1 on the team.

:doh:

:rofl:

they meant when ward retires he will be the #1 WR.............maybe