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mesaSteeler
02-12-2012, 01:00 AM
Ward goes on offensive in bid to remain a Steeler
By Scott Brown, PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 12, 2012
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_781277.html
Scott Brown is the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Steelers beat writer and can be reached at 412-481-5432, via e-mail or on Twitter.

Hines Ward took a proactive approach Saturday in his bid to return to the Steelers.

He also put the onus on the Steelers in responding to an NFL Network report saying the team won't bring him back next season.

"I don't normally like to respond to rumors, but as I've said all along, I want to finish my career with the Pittsburgh Steelers," Ward wrote on his Facebook page yesterday. "And as I've already told the organization, I am willing to work with them to restructure my contract to make sure this happens."

Ward's representatives have not heard from the Steelers since the report surfaced late Friday, but the team already has restructured the contracts of three high-profile players this offseason to save money against the salary cap. Ward, who turns 36 next month, has two years remaining on a contract that will pay him $4 million per season.

The Steelers, through a spokesman, declined to comment on Ward's status.

The report caught Ward, the team's all-time leading receiver, off guard, though the 14-year veteran has no intention of retiring if the Steelers release him.

It doesn't appear that the organization has made a final decision. Ward's future with the Steelers has been in question since the team's playoff loss in Denver last month.

Ward's playing time and production dropped last season -- his 46 catches and 381 receiving yards were his lowest since his rookie year -- and he lost his starting job to Antonio Brown in mid-November.

The Steelers also have to shed a significant amount of salary; they entered the offseason about $25 million over the salary cap.

The team trimmed a little more than $14 million off that total last week by restructuring the contracts of cornerback Ike Taylor and linebackers LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons.

They also saved about $3.5 million in cap space when they released cornerback Bryant McFadden and receiver Arnaz Battle last week.

The Steelers' offseason has been marked by change, but if they cut ties with Ward, it will register as a seismic shift, given his place in the franchise's history.

(A "seismic shift"!? Nothing like being completely over the top. Over the 48 years I've watched this team many other Steelers stars end up on other teams at the end of their careers. Ward's no more special than Franco was in day and maybe not even as much. The NFL is a business and we can't afford an expensive, aging, WR who can't cut it any more. I wish people would grow up and understand it's about the team and winning and not about any one player. It's time for Ward to retire and if we need a mentor then he can be a WR coach for us. - mesa)

His popularity is such that, within an hour of posting his statement on Facebook, he had received more than 2,000 responses. By early evening, he had almost twice as many responses and more than 28,000 likes.

Ward, the MVP of Super Bowl XL, holds almost every major Steelers receiving record and is one of only eight players in NFL history with 1,000 career catches.

He is second only to Franco Harris in franchise history with 86 touchdowns.

"He's one of the all-time Steelers," team president Art Rooney II said last month. "Hopefully he's a Hall of Famer. You want it to end the right way whenever it ends, but it's a two-party decision."

The Steelers appear set at the top of their receiver rotation with Brown, Mike Wallace and Emmanuel Sanders.

Wallace is a restricted free agent, but Rooney has said that signing the Pro Bowler to a long-term contact is the top priority this offseason.

Rather than keep Ward, the Steelers could opt to retain Jerricho Cotchery, who was productive in limited action last season. He is an unrestricted free agent.

Ward, the longest-tenured Steelers player, has said he thinks he has at least one more productive season left. (He may think so but I don't. - mesa) He has been with the Steelers since 1998, when they took him in the third round of the draft out of Georgia.

Read more: Ward goes on offensive in bid to remain a Steeler - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/s_781277.html##ixzz1m8yagoYR



A look at Steelers receiver Hines Ward's career:

4: Pro Bowls made by Ward (2002-05)

7: Seasons in which Ward has served as a team captain

8: NFL players, including Ward, who have at least 1,000 catches

19: NFL players, including Ward, who have reached the 12,000-yard receiving milestone

91: Players taken ahead of Ward in the 1998 NFL draft

1,000: Ward's career receptions

12,083: Ward's career receiving yards
In-depth Steelers

madtowndrunkard
02-12-2012, 01:08 AM
I'd rank Ward among in the top 10 greatest steelers of all time.....probably top 5.

If Mr Rooney is smart he'll keep Ward around til he retires. IMO keeping Ward is a PR move. Ward represents everything we love about the steelers. A smart owner sees this and signs Ward to a reduces salary...and markets him.

Hines Ward makes you proud to be a steelers fan.

kan_t
02-12-2012, 01:20 AM
If what people mean of 'taking a pay cut' is contract restructure like Ward said in this article, no I don't want him back and the Steelers should think the same.

BengalDestroyer
02-12-2012, 07:59 AM
I'd rank Ward among in the top 10 greatest steelers of all time.....probably top 5.

If Mr Rooney is smart he'll keep Ward around til he retires. IMO keeping Ward is a PR move. Ward represents everything we love about the steelers. A smart owner sees this and signs Ward to a reduces salary...and markets him.

Hines Ward makes you proud to be a steelers fan.

I agree 100%

sackmaster56
02-12-2012, 08:35 AM
Hines will always be a Steeler, just like Franco, just like Woodson, just like Green and just like all of the others.

steelfury02
02-12-2012, 08:36 AM
Ward a top 5 Steeler of all time? Not sure I agree with that.

Top 10? Maybe - and there would still be plenty arguments against it IMHO. I'd argue for being in this list because of what he was able to do with some run oriented teams

Any other franchise not named Green Bay, San Fran, Dallas, New England and I think you'd be correct.

I love him to death. But he is correct - restructure to the minimum. You've made your mark but time has moved on. You've made you're money already too and will get plenty in endorsements so don't feel too bad for this guy

ETL
02-12-2012, 10:09 AM
A case for keeping Ward.

We usually keep 5 wr. (6 if the wr is also a special team Star)

I read somewhere that if we drop Ward and resign him for a 10 y veteran minimum his cap hit is just under 500k.

At that price, Ward should be kept as a 5th receiver. If Ward rejects that salary then shame on him because his talk about wanting to be a steeler is meaningless.

tanda10506
02-12-2012, 01:20 PM
Sh*tty situation, seems like we are either going to lose Ward or Cotchery. I dont see how we cant keep both these guys for as cheap as they will (should) come.

steelerchad
02-12-2012, 01:29 PM
Sh*tty situation, seems like we are either going to lose Ward or Cotchery. I dont see how we cant keep both these guys for as cheap as they will (should) come.

There's no comparison at this point who the better player is. Cotchery can help this team and Ward is a liability at this point in his career. I know the guys done a lot for the Steelers, but it has to end sometime. At age 36, that time is now.

If we cut Ward, I don't believe any team signs him. TO, Moss, Mason all didn't have jobs last year. Young and fast is the WR position in the NFL today.

harts
02-12-2012, 02:32 PM
Ward is not a top 10 steeler of all time by any means

He maximized his minimal talent and gritted his way to be successful

but I am taking swann stallworth, mike wallace, louis lipps, ahead of hines as a receiver - could even throw Plaxico in there really

He got all he is gonna get out of his body.

I thought he should have retired last year

Time to go HInes especially for your health - that's why it is time to go

Thanks for the memories

steelerchad
02-12-2012, 04:05 PM
Ward is not a top 10 steeler of all time by any means

He maximized his minimal talent and gritted his way to be successful

but I am taking swann stallworth, mike wallace, louis lipps, ahead of hines as a receiver - could even throw Plaxico in there really

He got all he is gonna get out of his body.

I thought he should have retired last year

Time to go HInes especially for your health - that's why it is time to go

Thanks for the memories

Agree with some of what you said. There are so many Steeler greats, he would likely fall outside of the top 10.

But Plax as a guy who did more as a receiver than Hines. No way. Lipps? Probably not either and some of that may be the QB, but Hines was getting thrown to by Kordel for the first part of his career. I think Hines has a solid case for the 3rd best receiver all time.

He should have hung it up last year. He showed decline in 2010. 2011 was worse. 2012 will be near no production unless we have major injuries. He also hasn't had one of his pattened blocks in the last 2 years either.
If we keep him, he may be keeping a young up and comers roster spot and that we shouldn't risk for loyalty. You only dress 47 players. The way our injuries mounted this year, you can't have a dead spot on your roster and that's close to where he is now.

FrancoLambert
02-12-2012, 04:39 PM
Ward is not a top 10 steeler of all time by any means

He maximized his minimal talent and gritted his way to be successful

but I am taking swann stallworth, mike wallace, louis lipps, ahead of hines as a receiver - could even throw Plaxico in there really

He got all he is gonna get out of his body.

I thought he should have retired last year

Time to go HInes especially for your health - that's why it is time to go

Thanks for the memories

:noidea:

You say: "Not a top 10 receiver by any means."
Whoa!
Don't dismiss a "top 10" all time Steeler ranking for Hines so easily.
The all time statistical leader at the WR position for this great franchise.
I'll give you Swann and Stallworth for sure but not Wallace or Lipps for sure.
Plaxico.....please......comparing him to Hines :noidea:
"He maximized his MINIMAL talent." :noidea:

It may be time for hime to go, but don't forget his contributions.

Steel Peon
02-12-2012, 05:06 PM
I just hope we're not in such cap trouble that we can't even afford to pay him vet minimum.