Cutting ties with Ward wouldn't be wise move for Steelers
By Mark Kaboly
Sunday, November 28, 2010
They cut their all-time leading sacks leader and their all-time leading rusher to go along with two of their most productive linebackers.
They had no interest in bringing back the best center they ever had, the best guard they ever had and even one of their best receivers.
So if the Steelers can cut Jason Gildon, Franco Harris, Greg Lloyd and Joey Porter and were not interested enough to bring back Mike Webster, Alan Faneca or Louis Lipps, they wouldn't hesitate to let go of Hines Ward.
The Steelers pride themselves in knowing when the proper time it is to part ways with a player near the end of his career.
Will the offseason the time they need to make the decision with Ward?
Ward, who owns virtually every single receiving record in Steelers history, is having the least productive season of his 13-year career.
He has only 33 catches and 403 yards through 10 games and is on pace for his lowest numbers since 2000. Over the past four games, Ward has a mere nine catches for 53 yards. It appears Father Time has caught up with the future Hall of Famer.
Ward will have three years remaining on his contract after the season and the organization can save substantial amount of money if they make a clean break with him after the season.
It is something the Steelers have to consider, and history proves they would make the move if they deem it in the best interest of the organization.
But it's not in their best interest.
Even if Ward isn't having one of his best years, he still has good years left in him, even if he looks a step slow and appears to have a difficult time getting open.
The Steelers can't discount how much he means to the organization outside of football, and as long as he can still perform at a productive level, he has to be afforded the opportunity to remain with the organization now and for the near future.
Here's hoping the Steelers feel the same way.
Mark Kaboly can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org