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ricardisimo
01-11-2012, 04:45 AM
On the Steelers: Ward would be OK with pay cut
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201201/hines0111_330.jpg
Chris Schneider/Associated Press
Hines Ward runs off the field in Denver after Sunday's stunning loss. Some believe it will be Ward's last game in a Steelers uniform. But maybe not.


Hines Ward wants to make a few things perfectly clear: He wants to play for the Steelers in 2012, but, if they do not want him, he still wants to play next season
He just does not want to think about the second part of the equation at the moment.
"It would be weird, not how I want it to happen," Ward said of playing for another team next season. "But I do want to play. I still think I can play. I'm not even thinking like that -- what if. If that scenario happens, I'll be devastated, but I do want to play football."
He understands he would have to take a pay cut from his $4 million salary next season. He has two seasons left on his contract and is willing to do that. Such a decision must be made, however, by March 1 because Ward said a clause in his contract states that they must guarantee his job by then or release him.
"I'd probably have to restructure my contract," Ward said of the pay cut. "That's fine with me. I recognize that. I'm telling you I want to be here, I'm telling you I'm willing to do that. And I understand the ramifications -- we have the cap number and stuff, but I want to be here."
As for not starting, Ward noted that happened this season.
"Obviously, I was a starter, and then it went the way it did. That's fine, I don't have a problem with not starting. But I want to play, I want to try to win another Super Bowl. I want to do it for this organization. I want to help this team out. I still think I can help this team, on the field, off the field with the younger guys, still be there for the team. I'm willing to do all that."
No one has talked to him yet about his future, Ward said. He will have minor surgery on his right ankle to shave down bone spurs. He also is looking forward to a rest after a year in which he played football into the Super Bowl in February, had knee surgery, won "Dancing With the Stars," had surgery on his thumb and rejoined his teammates for the 2011 season after the lockout ended.
If the Steelers do not want him back next season, Ward hopes fans understand if he signs elsewhere.
"I want to be here. I mean, if they decide they don't want me here, it's not my choice. I wouldn't see why Steelers fans would be angry at me, if I still think I can play. I want to play here. I don't want to put on another uniform, but, at the end of the day, it's not my choice. There's nothing I can do about it."
Ward will turn 36 March 8 and noted "They always say play as long as you can.
"The biggest thing, like Tony Gonzalez, these guys are older than me. And I don't hear if they're retiring or not. Donald Driver, a year older than me, still playing good football...
"I'm just looking year to year, but I do want to play next year. If they decide to part ways, I'll be devastated, but life's not over. I'm still young.
"My thing is, I want to be a Steeler, I'm here, I'm willing to restructure, do whatever. I don't want to be seen in another uniform but, if they decide to part ways, or whatever, I don't know, I'm not even thinking like that. I couldn't even fathom myself [in another uniform], but I still want to play football."
Emmanuel Sanders, one of those young Steelers receivers who helped push Ward down the depth chart, knows where the team's future lies at the position. He also believes there is room for Ward.
"If he comes back, we are going to welcome him with open arms," said Sanders, who completed his second season by leading the Steelers in receiving in the playoff loss Sunday in Denver. "Hines has helped the receiving corps a lot. He definitely taught me, Antonio [Brown] and Mike [Wallace] what it takes to be a pro in this league. So, he is a great addition to this receiving corps.
"We know the direction in which we are going with the receiving corps. But, again, Hines is still a great addition. Just the knowledge he brings to the room, you can't pay for that, you can't coach that. He just brings that well-being of how to be a pro into the room."
For more on the Steelers, read the blog, Ed Bouchette on the Steelers at www.post-gazette.com/plus (http://www.post-gazette.com/plus). Ed Bouchette: ebouchette@post-gazette.com and Twitter @EdBouchette.


Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12011/1202701-66-0.stm#ixzz1j94Hjatp

ShutDown24
01-11-2012, 04:50 AM
If Ward doesn't over value himself, I would hold on to him as the #5 option at receiver. If he wants a penny more than he is worth at this point, let him walk.

Rick5895
01-11-2012, 05:36 AM
There is still a place for Ward here. If we can get Wallace to resign (he is a RFA) and Cotchery to resign (UFA) we could go into next season without worrying about adding to our WR's. I think Ward understands he is the 5th WR and reading the article appears to be OK with that. We will make a run again at the Super Bowl next season and having Ward there to help as a player/coach if you will would be a great benefit from the leadership point of view. Let him ride off into the sunset like Bettis and perhaps he can put together a sting of games like bettis did to help us reach our goal.

Curtain_of_Steel
01-11-2012, 07:25 AM
Its Vet min, there is no point to paying a 5th wr anymore. No one else is going to pay him much more than that.

ShutDown24
01-11-2012, 07:38 AM
Its Vet min, there is no point to paying a 5th wr anymore. No one else is going to pay him much more than that.

I agree that the Steelers shouldn't offer him much more than veteran minimum, but I disagree no one else will. You couldn't see Dan Snyder paying him a decent amount to come to D.C.? Or how about the Patriots? I could see them making playing in Boston worth his while. Not saying anyone should give him a payday, but there are a few teams that I could see doing it.

Curtain_of_Steel
01-11-2012, 08:43 AM
I don't know how anyone would pay him a decent amount. Do they pats need him? What does he bring to the table that would put someone over the top?

Keep in mind a typical 5th wr is playing special teams and pulling double duty. I don't think Ward is a special teamer. So another position has to step up there as well.

He may be a 400-500 yard wr thats it. Also if you notice, Ben likes throwing to him. Now Ben this year couldve only been throwing to him to get him the milestone marks. There are a lot of bubble to him. He also dropped his fair share of passes.
The more concerning piece is, afte Dancing with the Stars, he shouldve been in such tip top shape to ward of injurioes that we would not have had a problem. He works muscles he never knew he had, lol. Yet he still missed and sat out the bulk of practices.

He brings a lot to the team, but imo vet min is about it, maybe with some bonus's. But I'm not sure how you bonus a 5th wr fairly from the team standpoint

EbonySteel86
01-11-2012, 09:15 AM
Did Ward fall off that much or is Arians not calling plays for him cause he can't go deep? Or is it since we don't run the ball we don't need Ward to block as much anymore? This guy can still find the soft spots in opposing defenses, but Arians thinks all the soft spots are 40 yards down the field. I understand the emergence of the new toys (Wallace, Brown, etc.) but Ward can still move the chains and get us red zone td's.

Steelerfreak58
01-11-2012, 09:34 AM
Vet minimum and keep him as a strong back up that knows the system and can help continue the others to grow and learn from a master at his craft.

Curtain_of_Steel
01-11-2012, 02:10 PM
Good point on Arians, but since Arians is back, does that question matter?lol

Hines did drop more passes this year prorated of course. I think his production has definately dropped off. Plus you know Ben targets him first, so even with that its off.
He can stay, just at 25% imo. But he won't be a special teamer and that requires someone else to step in for him.

truesteelerfan
01-11-2012, 02:23 PM
He has so much value to this team I would be sad to see him go. If he's willing to restructure, we would be stupid to not bring him back.

ShutDown24
01-11-2012, 03:00 PM
I don't know how anyone would pay him a decent amount.

I don't mean to contend anyone will give him a major contract. But if we are looking at his value being the veteran minimum, I could certainly see another team offering him 3 million over two seasons.

Keep in mind a typical 5th wr is playing special teams and pulling double duty. I don't think Ward is a special teamer.

If he was willing, I think Ward would be an excellent special teams player. If he wants to stay as bad as he is claiming, I don't see why he wouldn't agree to play on coverage teams.

lipps83
01-11-2012, 03:17 PM
He has so much value to this team I would be sad to see him go. If he's willing to restructure, we would be stupid to not bring him back.

He doesn't have the speed to run Arians' 25 yard deep routes anymore though. And since there is no short passing game (other than the universally stupid bubble screen), Ward is useless other than mentor-ship.

ricardisimo
01-11-2012, 03:27 PM
It might be a moot point guys. Veteran minimum for a skill position player after six years is close to a million bucks. After fifteen years it's bound to be close to what he's due to earn anyways. If anything, they'll restructure his contract for salary cap relief purposes, rather than just for the sake of keeping him.

I'm not completely clear on the rules with this CBA, but I believe that if he's cut outright, something like 50% of his salary still counts against the cap anyway, even without having him here. Why not talk to his agent about this? Why not actually sign him to a much longer contract, spreading out his cap hit, with both parties understanding that only the first year is guaranteed?

Goldsteel86
01-11-2012, 05:29 PM
Now let me ask this, have the Steelers signed Wallace, have they tended an offer to Cotchery? Its simple to me, its a respect thing, why would you do it for Bettis and not Ward, a guy who really didn't stand too much of a chance coming out of college of even playing in the NFL, a guy who pretty much did everything, I mean everything the Steeler organization has asked him to do. He blocks, he catches, hell he even runs Arians's stupid bubble screens, Arians was such a jerk Hines' 1000 catch came on a shuffle pass (Come on Man!) he never b*****s or complains. Now if my math is correct the only two WR's we have locked up going into next year is Sanders and Brown, Sanders, although I love the type of receiver he could be but is unreliable due to injuries, I would think that it might be a wise decision to take a look at bringing Hines back, he just might prove valuable in the distant future and once again it is a respect thing, let him go out a Steeler as he obviously wants to do. :thumbsup:

ShutDown24
01-11-2012, 07:54 PM
Now let me ask this, have the Steelers signed Wallace, have they tended an offer to Cotchery? Its simple to me, its a respect thing, why would you do it for Bettis and not Ward, a guy who really didn't stand too much of a chance coming out of college of even playing in the NFL, a guy who pretty much did everything, I mean everything the Steeler organization has asked him to do. He blocks, he catches, hell he even runs Arians's stupid bubble screens, Arians was such a jerk Hines' 1000 catch came on a shuffle pass (Come on Man!) he never b*****s or complains. Now if my math is correct the only two WR's we have locked up going into next year is Sanders and Brown, Sanders, although I love the type of receiver he could be but is unreliable due to injuries, I would think that it might be a wise decision to take a look at bringing Hines back, he just might prove valuable in the distant future and once again it is a respect thing, let him go out a Steeler as he obviously wants to do. :thumbsup:

This is great in theory, but Bettis could actually contribute in those final seasons. Can Ward? As much as I hate to say it, we can't sign a player simply because we respect him. We need to focus every resource on winning a championship. And if that means making the team better by letting a player like Ward go, so be it.

Goldsteel86
01-11-2012, 08:11 PM
This is great in theory, but Bettis could actually contribute in those final seasons. Can Ward? As much as I hate to say it, we can't sign a player simply because we respect him. We need to focus every resource on winning a championship. And if that means making the team better by letting a player like Ward go, so be it.

I can respect the fact about winning Championships, however once again, please tell me going into next season what the Steelers WR core looks like? Not meaning to contradict your post but if I remember Jerome almost cost the Steelers versuses the Colts on the way to the SB and he contributed so much during the SB that Willie Parker set the record for the longest run in SB history. I love Bettis and what he contributed to the Steelers, but compare the situations, didn't Bettis take a pay cut like Hines is ready to do in his final year, didn't Bettis see limited playing time like Hines has seen and is willing to do and didn't the Steelers bring him back in a diminished role out of respect? Fact of the matter at the end of the day is this, the WR corps isn't guaranteed at this point, yes the off season has barely begun, but if Wallace would happen to leave and Cotchery would get a better offer, who do you have to groom any young receiver that may come in, Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders? :noidea:

Atlanta Dan
01-11-2012, 08:40 PM
I love Bettis and what he contributed to the Steelers, but compare the situations, didn't Bettis take a pay cut like Hines is ready to do in his final year, didn't Bettis see limited playing time like Hines has seen and is willing to do and didn't the Steelers bring him back in a diminished role out of respect? :noidea:

Bettis took a haircut to come back in 2004-2005 (after Zeroue got the RB job in 2003 - perhaps the dumbest move Cowher made as a HC)

2004 was supposed to be Staley's year but after Duce got hurt Bettis was the back (Parker first showed his stuff in the last week against Buffalo)

In 2005 Bettis was the closer - if you ever watch the 2005 playoffs again, Bettis was in the game to grind clock in the second half - #36 was not on the team out of "respect" but filled a major role in Cowher's offense

OTOH I do not know what Ward's role would be in 2012 (except to try and light a fire under Wallace?)

ShutDown24
01-11-2012, 09:17 PM
I can respect the fact about winning Championships, however once again, please tell me going into next season what the Steelers WR core looks like? Not meaning to contradict your post but if I remember Jerome almost cost the Steelers versuses the Colts on the way to the SB and he contributed so much during the SB that Willie Parker set the record for the longest run in SB history. I love Bettis and what he contributed to the Steelers, but compare the situations, didn't Bettis take a pay cut like Hines is ready to do in his final year, didn't Bettis see limited playing time like Hines has seen and is willing to do and didn't the Steelers bring him back in a diminished role out of respect? Fact of the matter at the end of the day is this, the WR corps isn't guaranteed at this point, yes the off season has barely begun, but if Wallace would happen to leave and Cotchery would get a better offer, who do you have to groom any young receiver that may come in, Antonio Brown or Emmanuel Sanders? :noidea:

Well sure, if another team breaks the bank for Wallace and/or Cotchery go ahead and sign Ward for depth. But if 17 & 89 re-sign with the team, I just don't know if it is worth retaining Ward. If he offers to play special teams I would keep him. But past that, I don't think it would be a wise business decision.

And Atlanta Dan pretty much summed up the role Bettis played during his final stretch with the team. A #2 running back is a lot different than a #5 receiver.

FireOmarTomlin
01-11-2012, 09:42 PM
league minimum