Hines Ward Pregame comments
Hines Ward Pre-Game Comments
I?m here. I?m just glad to be back. I?m very passionate about football and just driving back to the stadium today, seeing all the fans in their black and gold, a lot of chills went through my body. For me, this whole hold out situation was to show good faith to an organization and their policy that they don?t negotiate with players under contract. The whole hold out was strictly business and for me it was about getting the opportunity to retire as a Steeler. It was not about money or greed, it was about me wanting to retire as a Steeler and to have that chance to retire as a Steeler. That?s all I can really ask for. I do want my fair market value. The Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens numbers they are ridiculous. I wouldn?t try to ask for that. Not to say that I?m any less of a player than those guys but I know how this organization is run, how the offense is, for me, it?s all about getting the opportunity to start my career one place and end my career in one place; and what a better place to do it then in the Black and Gold. That?s all I want is a commitment from this organization that I can retire as a Steeler. I don?t think I?d look right in another uniform. This whole hold out is about me wanting to get compensated fairly and also have the opportunity to not put on another uniform besides the Black and Gold. That?s all I can ask for.
On being close to an agreement:
As far as number wise, it?s between my agent and the organization. For me, it was a business decision; this is what I want. For the first time in my career it came down to a business decision. When I got drafted I was just happy to be Steeler, then I filed my first extension to remain a Steeler, now it is about wanting to retire as a Steeler. That?s all I want. I never meant for this to come to this, it was unfortunate that it had to come to a hold out. The organization, my agent and myself are the only ones that know what happened. You can speculate and say your resources say this as far as numbers and figures, but those are all untrue. I wanted to get the opportunity to remain a Steeler and not even think about putting on another uniform. I couldn?t even imagine playing in another place. Just driving through the city and having some of the fan support, I want to thank the fans. I know this can get to be an ugly situation as far as a player holding out, but having the support and showing that the fans really appreciate the way I play this game?I could not miss this game for the world. That?s all I ask for is to get this opportunity to retire as a Steeler.
On what made him come back today:
I wanted to be here, especially during a game-time situation. I wanted to be here to support the guys. I know they have been very supportive of me. I want to get this thing resolved, if it takes me coming back to get the negotiations started then so be it. I?m showing that I?m willing to move forward on a positive note. I?ve held out for two weeks, but there?s nothing that I could do about it. I?m here today and looking forward to my agent and the Steelers front office to continue negotiations while I?m at training camp. That?s why I?m here.
On willingness to risk injury before having a contract:
That?s what I?m doing. That?s just the nature of the beast and injury is always in the back of your mind. But, that?s a chance that I?m willing to take to remain a Steeler for life.
On a particular turning point:
For me I never wanted this to be a negative situation. It was a cry out that I wanted to be here. I missed football?it sucked being at home. It was the worst thing ever, sitting at home watching your teammates practice. I want to be out there preparing for the season and getting better. Like I said, I think we have a great opportunity to make a run. For the first time in my career we have stability at the quarterback position. I look at my situation as having a greater upscale now that Ben [Roethlisberger] is going into his second year, he?s the future of this organization. I want to be a part of that. Since I?ve been here there has been a different quarterback every two years. So for me this was about being committed to this team, I want to retire as a Steeler and I want to help this team get to the next level. That?s why the hold out came about.
On being linked to Terrell Owen?s situation:
You guys know me as a person. I have enough problems as it is on getting my situation worked out, to really comment on T.O?s actions. I just hate to see that I?m getting put into that same category, because I think that our situations are totally different. Who am I to say what he?s doing. I really didn?t get caught up in it all.
On what promises were made:
The team policy is that they don?t negotiate with players that aren?t at camp. I?m here?that?s me showing good faith. I?m here showing that I want to get something resolved and I hope something can come about that both sides can agree on something that is fair.
On accomplishing something by holding out:
Do I regret?no I don?t. It was for me to show that I want to be a part of this organization. You really can?t get into the personal side and the business side of it. This is strictly business; I can?t take it personal that my deal hasn?t gotten done. This was a business decision and the decision was to hold out. There were no other reasons for me holding out?it was strictly business. For seven years I think I?ve laid it all on the line. This organization has done so much for me, my family and my career. I?m here, it?s up to the organization now; the ball is in their court. I?m here tonight to show support to my teammates and get ready to step on the practice field on Wednesday. I?ve done my part.
On talking to Coach Cowher:
I had a long conversation with him last night. I need to hear support from my head coach. That?s all a player can ask for. If the head coach doesn?t have confidence in you as a ball player then maybe we do need to part ways. It?s been a long time since we?ve had a conversation like that, but I needed that. That?s why I?m here. Let?s get something done because I want to retire as a Steeler. I called him. There was no need for me to wait around. I wanted to hear it from the guy who coaches me every day and the guy who has seen me on the field for the past seven years.
On what convinced him to come back:
I hate sitting out of camp and I hate sitting at home. I hope no player has to go through it. For once in my life I had to go with the business decision. This is the only business decision I had to make, besides what college to go to. Having the conversation with Coach Cowher, for me, I needed that as a player. The money situation, I can?t go into numbers?I just play football. I?m here to go out there and continue to get better as a football player, help my team win a Super Bowl, and show this organization that I accept the rule and that I?m willing to go out on the football field and get better. I know if I had an injury that I lose everything. I?m willing to do that to try to become a Steeler for life.
On his agent?s advice:
My agent just gives me options, he doesn?t tell me what to do. He told me that I could go back and get hurt and lose everything. But if I play this year out and go well, there?s a chance that they put the franchise tag on me. I want to retire as a Steeler and I told [my agent] to make that happen.
On staying in shape:
I think I?ve worked hardest this year. I?m 203, the lightest since I?ve been in the league. Each day when I go to work out I just want to prove people wrong. My whole career people have judged me and said I couldn?t do this. But here I am standing and I have the opportunity to be one of the organizations? best receivers.
On being active in the negotiations:
I?m not going to be involved in that. I have to be involved in getting better and helping this team get to the Super Bowl. It?s my agent?s job to go out and tell me what going on. My main focus is to get my mind on football and help this team win ball games.
Re: Hines Ward Pregame comments
I think the conference went well. I know I was quite happy to see Ward back. The Steelers without Hines Ward is something I don't want to imagine. Now we just have to get the deal hammered out and keep our guy in the black and gold. Glad to see him back!
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