The Steelers front office took all the drama out of this, its only the media and us fans that have anything to really debate about anymore. The only one that can change the status of the situation is Hines Ward, until he comes into camp, there is nothing that will happen. A trade is out of the question, the steelers just don't do that, just like they won't negotiate with someone not in camp.
I do feel for both sides on this matter. Hines is a great reciever in OUR system. Would he do as well in Indy, Oakland, St. Lous?....it's hard to say. He does what the STEELERS ask of him. Just like Harrion, Holt, and Moss do, but its completely different. Those receivers are getting their contracts based on TD's, stretching the field, making the big plays. Although Hines does do that, to an extent, catching a 75 yard TD and snagging a 7 yard pass and fighting for 3 yards to get a first just isn't viewed as the same. He blocks like no other reciever in the league, but does that warrant the same as being able to stretch the field ala Holt, Moss, Owens, etc ?? I feel what the Steelers offered was FAIR for what they ask him to do and for how well he does it.
I think Hines showed his hand way to early to get the deal he wants....as soon as he reports, which he will beccause he has to play one more season, he gives up all his bargaining tools, while loosing some of the respect he has at the front office. I really wish he would have just reported, carried on business as normal, and worked out the deal that way. As it stands now, I don't see both sides being a winner. Either A) he'll reluctantly sign a deal that he feels is not fair or B) he'll play his season out and test the FA market.