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83-Steelers-43
05-11-2006, 05:31 AM
WR Ward will school rookies ... if they ask
Thursday, May 11, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Santonio Holmes made a good first impression on Hines Ward, personally when they met last week at the Steelers' training complex and professionally from what the veteran receiver has seen on highlight tapes.

Ward also wants to help the rookie receiver assimilate into the Steelers' offense, though he learned a lesson about offering such help from the previous two receivers the Steelers drafted in the first round. So, if Holmes wants his help, starting with minicamp this weekend, he'll have to ask for it.

"If he wants to be helped and asks, I'm more than willing," Ward said this week. "But for me to go out of the way to try to help somebody, I'm not going to do it. I did that before, and it didn't work."

Ward said he was rebuffed in his efforts to help Troy Edwards, drafted in the first round in 1999, and Plaxico Burress, drafted in the first round in 2000. Ward felt those two receivers did not respect him because he was drafted in the third round in 1998.

Their reaction, he said, was something like this: "How can a third-round guy who doesn't even start -- I'm here to take your job -- help me?"

Eventually, Ward reacted this way: "All right, help yourself. You're a first-rounder anyway, you're here to beat me out."

"So, I stopped doing that," he said.

Nevertheless, he took Antwaan Randle El under his wing when the Steelers drafted him in the second round in 2002, he said, because Randle El asked for his help. He would do the same for Holmes or wide receiver Willie Reid, a third-round draft choice this year. He also believes that, with the loss of Randle El to the Washington Redskins in free agency, the rookies can help the offense.

"I think it's great. From what I've seen, they're playmakers. Does that mean we'll throw the ball more? I hope so. But ... probably not.

"I really don't know much about Reid other than what I've read about him. I know he's from Georgia. Santonio, I know he's a playmaker, and we need that in our offense because you only get so many opportunities, and the opportunities you do get you have to make something happen. If you want to be our stretch-the-field guy, you may get two opportunities a game. You're not going to get many."

It's unlikely any young receiver joining the Steelers would have less than abundant respect for Ward, 30, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, a four-time Pro Bowler, three-time Steelers MVP and holder of most of the club receiving records. The dynamics of the situation today also differ from that of six and seven years ago when the Steelers lacked depth at receiver and still were unsure of the young Ward.

Ward, though, apparently still harbors resentment over what he perceived were the team's attempts to push him aside in favor of Edwards and Burress. Sports Illustrated quotes him this week as saying he has never had a warm relationship with coach Bill Cowher.

"I don't have anything to say to him," he told the magazine. "After what he did to me, after how he treated me, no. The numbers I put up? The seasons I had, for them to keep on bringing in guys ...?"

Ward led the Steelers in receiving in each of the past six seasons and tied Edwards in 1999 for the lead with 61 receptions. Ward holds the team record with 574 receptions and has the top three receiving seasons in Steelers history. Edwards eventually fell out of favor and was traded in 2002. Burress signed with the New York Giants as a free agent last year.

Said Cowher: "Our decision to draft wide receivers in the first round of the 1999 and 2000 NFL drafts was not a reflection on Hines Ward. We had lost a couple of our top veteran receivers to free agency over the previous couple of offseasons, and drafting receivers in the first round of those two drafts was more a reflection of us trying to strengthen that position."

Perhaps Ward can still use that as his personal motivation, or somehow believe that another receiver, Holmes or Reid, was drafted to replace him. "Maybe one of those guys are supposed to take my job when I get older," he said.

He admits he thrives on such motivation. He says he was driven last year to prove wrong those people who thought he could not flourish without Burress and to show he was worth his new $27 million contract.

"How do I follow up?" Ward asks. "What can I do? Every year, I had motivation to do something. People said I couldn't do this, yet we won the Super Bowl and I'm Super Bowl MVP. Now, what's my next goal to try to set for myself?

"Every year, you have to prove yourself, there's nothing guaranteed. Jerry Rice said every year you get younger guys coming in and trying to replace you. You're Super Bowl MVP. My god, what's the next goal? I'm in new territory. I'm still looking."

83-Steelers-43
05-11-2006, 05:32 AM
"If he wants to be helped and asks, I'm more than willing," Ward said this week. "But for me to go out of the way to try to help somebody, I'm not going to do it. I did that before, and it didn't work."

Edwards and Plaxico.....no surprise there I guess? After dealing with those two you can't blame the guy for not wanting to go out of his way to help a WR.

and

Sports Illustrated quotes him this week as saying he has never had a warm relationship with coach Bill Cowher.

"I don't have anything to say to him," he told the magazine. "After what he did to me, after how he treated me, no. The numbers I put up? The seasons I had, for them to keep on bringing in guys ...?"

That shocked me. While I can understand where Ward's coming from to a degree, I never knew that he holds that much resentment towards Cowher. Those are pretty strong words. While it obviously has no effect on the team (Super Bowl XL Champs), I can't help but feel a littled shocked by his comments. Personally, I never knew there was resentment between the two to begin with?

pucho58
05-11-2006, 07:01 AM
I think SI twisted his words (about Cower) because Cower was the one that talked him out of his holdout.

83-Steelers-43
05-11-2006, 07:08 AM
I think SI twisted his words (about Cower) because Cower was the one that talked him out of his holdout.

Well I'm sure the local media and other news outlets will be asking him questions pertaining to his comments. If he comes out and states that he was misquoted by SI, then it's a different story. Until then..........

coachspeak33
05-11-2006, 07:36 AM
I really think this is nothing more than a guy that has accomplished more than he ever dreamed of accomplishing in the NFL trying to gear himself up for another Super Bowl run....

Hines is the ultimate team player, he proved it with how he handled a holdout a year ago, so I am not worried about Hines Ward becoming a selfish guy all of the sudden.....

And as far as Cowher goes... he is the quintessential player's coach and had a profound influence on both Hines ending his holdout and the clubs' FO extending his deal.

Suitanim
05-11-2006, 08:19 AM
Hope this (Feuding between player and coach) is much ado about nothing, because, quite frankly, this is the kind of stuff that goes on in the Bengals, Ravens and Raiders locker rooms, not the Steelers.

As for Holmes, I'm SURE he'll be willing to tutor under Ward, and will have the utmost respect for him.

DIESELMAN
05-11-2006, 09:21 AM
If a rookie comes into the league acting like hes better then someone who has been around for a while then hes setting himself up for failure. I don't blame Ward at all. I'm sure if Santonio comes and asks for help Hines will damn near give him the shirt off his back to help him and the team.

Ward86MVP
05-11-2006, 11:03 AM
Not sure what to make of Hines's comments. I thought that him and Coach Cowher got along fantastically, especially, as many of you have pointed out, after Cowher was instrumental in contacting Ward to resolve the contract situation. This sort of quote seems out of character for #86. Why wouldn't he want a speedy receiver like Santonio Holmes in the mix to take some attention off of him and open the field up? I don't think the Steelers drafted Holmes for the purpose of replacing Ward as the #1.

coachspeak33
05-11-2006, 11:09 AM
We (and Hines as well) might want to take into consideration the makeup of those two he attempted to tutor.... Edwards and Plexi-glass.... not exactly two visions of work ethic and positive, team-oriented attitude.

RoethlisBURGHer
05-11-2006, 11:28 AM
I don't blame Hines for not wanting to go out of his way to tutor them.They should have to come and ask him,he's the Steelers all-time receptions leader and the reigning Super Bowl MVP.I am sure Holmes will ask for some tutoring,and Hines will do everything he can to help.

And as far as the Cowher quote,he was probally misquoted.Maybe when Edwards and Plexi-glass were first drafted he did feel that way.I bet they took his words and twisted them to make them fit the peice they wanted to write,like so many reporters do.

83-Steelers-43
05-11-2006, 11:37 AM
The more I think about it, I do have a slight problem with him being upset with the Steelers FO and Cowher in particular for bringing in other receivers. When a WR wants to shop around, they normally state 'hey, it's nothing personal, it's just business'. You're only in the NFL for a given amount of seasons and you have to make the most of your time in the league. That's what happened with Hines Ward last year. It was nothing against Cowher, the team or the fans. Hines wanted the money he felt he was worth. Players need to realize that it's the same on the other side of the fence.. When the front office or coach wants to bring in other players at your position, they are just protecting themselves.

Nothing personal, just business.

HburgXL06
05-11-2006, 11:46 AM
The more I think about it, I do have a slight problem with him being upset with the Steelers FO and Cowher in particular for bringing in other receivers. When a WR wants to shop around, they normally state 'hey, it's nothing personal, it's just business'. You're only in the NFL for a given amount of seasons and you have to make the most of your time in the league. That's what happened with Hines Ward last year. It was nothing against Cowhers, the team or the fans. It was just Hines trying to get the money he thought he was worth. Players need to realize that the opposite is true as well. When a coach or FO wants to bring in other players at your position, they're just protecting themselves. Nothing personal, just business.

Well the other side of the story could be that a few years back Ward could've felt that they were tryin to replace him with new receivers before he thought he had the opportunity to represent himself to the fullest on the field. It also might have been because of the fact that based on his knowledge of the Steelers bein a team that drafts on character why then were they draftin men that when he tried to help them instead of bein grateful ridicued and mocked his offer. The fault is more on Edwards and Burress who sound like they were too c*cky for their own good. It's obvious that Ward is loyal to the team and the city of Pittsburgh in his actions on and off the field. He's a great man who overcame his this lil problem and outlasted his supposed "replacements." He looks at it positively too. He uses it as a challenge to do better rather than to just give up. He's had two bad experiences so he's protectin himself from bein hurt again. I doubt Holmes is as bad in character than Burress and Edwards were and will prolly be willin to learn from a seasoned veteran as good as Ward. This could just be SI tryin to instigate somethin to entertain their readers until the season actually starts, I mean people love drama for some reason.

BuFu

83-Steelers-43
05-11-2006, 11:53 AM
On another note, I personally feel that if I'm working for somebody or vice versa I would choose not to throw out our business for the public to read. Plus, Cowher is your coach and the FO is paying you. They make the team decisions when they want and for who they want, not the players. I don't care if your Hines Ward or Nate Washington, I don't agree with it.

I'm not doubting Hine's loyalty, but nobody is above the coach and ownership. You don't like the coach? Fine. Somebody asks you a question pertaining to your relationship with the coach, try "no comment, I'm just enjoying my Super Bowl offseason". Your complaining about the team bringing in other players but yet your sporting a Super Bowl ring after receiving a nice fat paycheck (with the help of your coach) from the organization your criticizing. Something isn't right with that if you ask me.

HburgXL06
05-11-2006, 12:01 PM
On another note, I personally feel that if I'm working for somebody or vice versa I would choose not to throw out our business for the public to read. Plus, Cowher is your coach and the FO is paying you. They make the team decisions when they want and for who they want, not the players. I don't care if your Hines Ward or Nate Washington, I don't agree with it.

I'm not doubting Hine's loyalty, but nobody is above the coach and ownership. You don't like the coach? Fine. Somebody asks you a question pertaining to your relationship with the coach, try "no comment, I'm just enjoying my Super Bowl offseason". Your complaining about the team bringing in other players but yet your sporting a Super Bowl ring after receiving a nice fat paycheck (with the help of your coach) from the organization your criticizing. Something isn't right with that if you ask me.

Hines ain't perfect. I'll agree to that. But I'ma withold strong judgement until I see if anythin truly comes of this. I can only hope it doesn't negatively affect the team.

BuFu

83-Steelers-43
05-11-2006, 12:03 PM
I doubt it will effect the team, I'm just stating that I don't agree with his comments pertaining to Cowher.

So the Steelers went out and shopped for WR's to beef up the position. So what? We needed WR's before Ward came here and we needed them after Ward arrived. Cowher flat out stated that they were not drafting these WR's in order to "replace" Ward, but to make the position better. Understand I'm not bashing Ward and I like him just as much as everybody else, but I think he was out of line to degree with his comments pertaining to Cowher.

clevestinks
05-11-2006, 12:21 PM
I would think that it is different for Hines now, he has earned his respect now. When Plax and Edwards were drafted Hines still had some proving to do. Imagine if we drafted a lb in the first round and he thought he was to good for Porters help because Porter was a 3rd round pick. Holmes knows all about Ward, and these two will work together i hope.

WWIIOwheelz
05-11-2006, 02:49 PM
Couple of things, here, for me...

That comment about Cowher jumped out at me also as surprising. However, I've picked up on the animosity before, after thinking about it. During his holdout, Bettis was asked about the situation, and he looked the reporter in the eye & said, basically, "Well, DUH! He's one of the best receivers in the league & he's making like the least among starters? That's just wrong, man." The animosity was pretty evident from his friend.

Also, in the video, once the Bowl was obviously won, Cowher came up to Hines & grabbed his shoulders & said "Hines! We've come a long way, man..." (or something like that.) Hines barely made eye contact & seemed less than warm, to be honest. It strikes me as being awkward every time I see it.

Shame, really, but I still love his attitude on the field. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of it.

Mosca
05-11-2006, 04:16 PM
Shame, really, but I still love his attitude on the field. I'm sure we haven't heard the last of it.

I think we have. It's media stuff. A guy says something, it's quoted, and it doesn't mean the same thing as it did when he said it. I think that you have a guy who's using internal forces to motivate himself, and at the same time you have a guy who's speaking frankly about his relationship with his coach. Put side by side it appears to mean more than it actually does. The word "resentment" is the writer's, not Ward's. Ward's quote, without the writer's word "resentment", means something else entirely; it shows distance and a lack of warmth, but it also lacks the animosity that the article's slant gives to it.

I think that Cowher's feelings would be that if Hines Ward needs to hate him in order to be motivated, then he would want Hines Ward to hate him completely and thoroughly. And that is where it would end. It takes TWO for something like this to blow up, and I don't see Cowher as the type to take it to heart.


Tom

WWIIOwheelz
05-11-2006, 04:47 PM
I just read the article in SI. That's all he says about that subject, so at least there's nothing else. Those are pretty strong words, for the Steeler organization. I meant to say, all we'll be "hearing" will be from the media, and I agree, that doesn't matter much in the scheme of things. You are right... from a management/coaching perspective, it motivated Ward, and he said as much, so that worked out fine.

I just don't like the distraction of thinking Hines doesn't like the Coach much, is all. That's a much larger chip than I ever envisioned him having on his shoulder. I suppose, like many others, the smile won me over over the years. :)

Black@Gold Forever32
05-11-2006, 05:26 PM
Now don't blast me guys. But your suprised by Hines Ward's comments? I'm not. He is still a pro athlete with a ego. Don't get me wrong I love Hines Ward and I'm glad he will retire a Steeler. But like last year with his hold out I wasn't suprised. All athletes have egos. Even the ones that play with the same love and passion as Hines Ward. Yea that smile makes you think other wise. But he still has an ego.

I don't see the comments being a distraction at all. Cowher won't let that happen. Plus I could care less if Cowher and Ward get along. Cowher and Ward both have had very good careers with each other if they do indeed hate each other. I also heard 2004 that Ben and Cowher didn't get along that well. As you see Ben or Cowher's performance hasn't been effected the last two years.

Atlanta Dan
05-11-2006, 07:27 PM
It's a business, not a college fraternity.

Bradshaw was not well liked on the 70s Steelers teams and allegedly hated Noll, but it worked out pretty well.

The rumor of Ben being loathed by his teammates has died down for now, but I have assumed there was some truth to that rumor. If Hines does not like Cowher, big deal - they both have a job to do and both do it well. Whether they go out for dinner after the game is of no concern to me.

Hypnotic
05-11-2006, 08:17 PM
With success comes rumors & turmoil IMO. Hopefully andy issues between all parties will be resloved.

Stlrs4Life
05-11-2006, 09:22 PM
I think SI twisted his words (about Cower) because Cower was the one that talked him out of his holdout.


Exactly, writers are known for that.

Mosca
05-11-2006, 09:59 PM
The rumor of Ben being loathed by his teammates has died down for now, but I have assumed there was some truth to that rumor. If Hines does not like Cowher, big deal - they both have a job to do and both do it well. Whether they go out for dinner after the game is of no concern to me.

I missed that one, but I'd be surprised if 50 guys ALL liked EVERYONE. The difference between winners and losers is how they deal with stuff like that when the uniform is on, not when the barbeque tongs are out. I've worked with people I loathed, but when the deals were done and the money was counted we were smiling and high-fiving each other. It's all about winning.


Tom

clevestinks
05-12-2006, 04:01 AM
Now don't blast me guys. But your suprised by Hines Ward's comments? I'm not. He is still a pro athlete with a ego. Don't get me wrong I love Hines Ward and I'm glad he will retire a Steeler. But like last year with his hold out I wasn't suprised. All athletes have egos. Even the ones that play with the same love and passion as Hines Ward. Yea that smile makes you think other wise. But he still has an ego.

I don't see the comments being a distraction at all. Cowher won't let that happen. Plus I could care less if Cowher and Ward get along. Cowher and Ward both have had very good careers with each other if they do indeed hate each other. I also heard 2004 that Ben and Cowher didn't get along that well. As you see Ben or Cowher's performance hasn't been effected the last two years.
Rep points, and I agree, and I think his pasion as you stated drives his ego even more. When you play the way Ward does you should be respected by everyone, especially the rookies, and any opposing DB. If Plax would have listened to Ward he may have had a helluva future