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Old 11-03-2005, 01:01 AM   #1
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Thumbs up Ward nears record...

Steelers Notebook: Ward nears record, but forgets 1st catch
Thursday, November 03, 2005

By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hines Ward no doubt will remember the catch that breaks John Stallworth's team-reception record that could come Sunday if he nabs four to reach No. 538 in his career. But he cannot recall his first catch in the NFL.

Hines Ward had eight receptions vs. Baltimore Monday night and a few words from coach Bill Cowher as well.
"Can you find out about my first one?" Ward asked yesterday.

That one came Sept. 6, 1998, in the season opener at Baltimore his rookie season. He caught a 12-yard pass from Kordell Stewart on third-and-20 from shotgun formation. Duane Starks tackled him 8 yards short of the sticks. The score was 3-3 in a game the Steelers went on to win, 20-13.

Although Ward would have preferred to break the record at home, it more likely will come in famed Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

"It's just an honor," Ward said. "To say I'm better than Lynn Swann or Stallworth? Just having my name mentioned among those guys is a true honor for me."

Ward has made the past four Pro Bowls, when he caught 381 passes. He missed the first game of his career Oct. 16 against Jacksonville, but leads the Steelers with 29 receptions for 412 yards and five touchdowns.

At 29, can he envision catching 1,000 passes in his career?

"A thousand? It just depends," Ward said. "How long do I want to play? How long can I play? I haven't really looked into it. Do I want to get 1,000? I'd love to. But I'd rather win a Super Bowl. That's like the icing on the cake."

There's a chance that Ward could catch his record pass from backup quarterback Charlie Batch because of a knee injury to starter Ben Roethlisberger. Stallworth caught his milestone 500th during a 1987 strike-replacement game against Indianapolis from replacement quarterback Steve Bono, a 3-yard touchdown.
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