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mesaSteeler
01-28-2011, 03:26 PM
Ward contemplates retirement
1/27/2011 3:31 AM
http://www.observer-reporter.com/OR/Print/01-27-2011-Steelers-Ward-retirement-

PITTSBURGH - Hines Ward said last April that if the Steelers won the Super Bowl, he'd probably retire like Jerome Bettis did following their victory in Super Bowl XL.

The Steelers were coming off a season in which they failed to qualify for the playoffs, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger faced a suspension to begin this season, so it seemed like a bold statement.

With the Steelers' victory last Sunday over the New York Jets for the AFC Championship, Ward stands one game from decision time.

Will he retire if the Steelers beat Green Bay Feb. 6 in Dallas at Super Bowl XLV?

"I don't know. My mom asked me that the other day," said Ward. "I haven't really thought about it, to be honest. I don't want to make an emotional decision based off of that. I know Jerome went out on top, but I don't know. I just want to be singularly focused on trying to win this ball game and whatever happens after that happens."

At 34, Ward is clearly slowing down.

For the first time since his rookie season in 1998, Ward did not lead the Steelers in receptions, and he has contributed just five receptions for 72 yards in two postseason victories.

But, Ward also has served a crucial role in the development of second-year receiver Mike Wallace, along with rookies Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.

Wallace led the Steelers with 60 receptions for 1,257 yards and 10 touchdowns, while Sanders and Brown made key contributions late in the season.

"I tell them to just keep things in perspective," said Ward. "You're going to have a bad game. You're going to have a good game and think you're better than what you really are. I try to keep everybody humble and grounded and realize that if I'm running my decoy route to get you open, then I want the same respect when you run one for me. I've got a great group of guys. They're great students of the game. They want to get better."

Ward's message has helped Wallace overcome a quiet postseason. Wallace has just four receptions for 27 yards in the Steelers' first two playoff games, but Sanders has five catches for 74 yards, while Brown has four for 89.

"I don't care about that, we're winning and that's all that matters," said Wallace. "If I've got to be a decoy and drag two guys deep, that's what I'm going to continue to do."

Ward's message has hit home.

Ward knows he won't put up gaudy statistics and that the Steelers' passing attack is not as productive as Green Bay's, with its four receivers with 45 or more receptions compared to Pittsburgh's two.

Green Bay, which is favored to win the Super Bowl, ranked fifth in the NFL this season passing. The Steelers were 14th.

"We're not a flashy bunch. We can be. We've showed that we can go out there and do it. We just go out there and win games," Ward said. "Our defense is why we're in the Super Bowl.

"To be a favorite or underdogs, we've been on both sides. We just go out and play. We've been there before. We won't get caught up in all the things that come along with a Super Bowl. We like playing the role of underdog."

It's the same lack of respect the Steelers get when teams of the past decade are mentioned.

"You talk about the Patriots and the run they went on, we've been right there with them," Ward said. "(We've been to) five AFC Championship games, two Super Bowls and heading to our third. They don't mention us in that category."

Maybe with a win over the Packers, they will get that recognition. And then Ward can think about retirement.

"You come here and you walk past all those Super Bowl trophies. That's what it's all about," Ward said. "A lot of teams say they want to get to the Super Bowl, but they know they don't have what it takes. Buffalo may go into the season saying they want to get to the Super Bowl, but realistically, they know. That's not the case here."

Odds and end zones

Rookie center Maurkice Pouncey wore a cast on his injured ankle on Wednesday, but did not talk to reporters. ... Defensive end Aaron Smith (triceps) practiced on a limited basis Wednesday as he did all last week. ... Also missing practice Wednesday were cornerback Bryant McFadden (abdomen) and safety Troy Polamalu (ankle). Copyright Observer Publishing Co

SeinfeldNut
01-28-2011, 03:31 PM
I hope Ward decides to come back for next season. He does so many things besides just catching the ball. He is a great blocker when they are running a WR screen or a running play etc. The most important to me, is the way he has taken these young WRs under his wing. Teaching them how to play the position, how to prepare etc. His leadership to this team and franchise is something that cannot be duplicated. Hopefully the Steelers will offer him a position within the organization when the day comes that he decides to retire.

LegendSteel
01-28-2011, 03:34 PM
Cooke from "Vinnie and Cooke" on The Fan was pretty adamant in insisting that Ward won't retire.

madtowndrunkard
01-28-2011, 03:41 PM
No way should Ward retire. He's got way too much in the tank still.

lionslicer
01-28-2011, 04:15 PM
I"m sure if the NFL goes to 18 games he'll retire, which he mentioned around mid season.
I like the young recievers, as much as I like Ward, him leaving wont completely hurt the Steelers.

El Nino
01-28-2011, 05:27 PM
i think if we win he should retire, and ward is my favorite player.

as a player, you want to go out a winner and while you've still got it, not when your body is a total wreck, by then it's too late (favre)

The way I see it, ward has had a GREAT career, won a super bowl MVP award. What else left does he have to prove? Whatever his decision is, I support it.

SeinfeldNut
01-28-2011, 06:15 PM
i think if we win he should retire, and ward is my favorite player.

as a player, you want to go out a winner and while you've still got it, not when your body is a total wreck, by then it's too late (favre)

The way I see it, ward has had a GREAT career, won a super bowl MVP award. What else left does he have to prove? Whatever his decision is, I support it.

True, and he will go out as one of the most re veered Steelers ever.