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Old 07-30-2005, 12:18 AM   #1
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Post Wards path could get bumpy

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trib.../s_358697.html

Steelers wideout Hines Ward could be venturing into risky territory if he chooses to hold out of training camp, according to a couple of NFL player representatives.
Pittsburgh-based agent Ralph Cindrich posed this question: "Is he willing to give up his career?"

Another agent, Joe Linta of Freedom, broke the situation down in a slightly different manner.

"If he holds out all year, he becomes a 30-year-old guy with one year left on his contract, as opposed to a 29-year-old holding out," Linta said. "It will hurt him more than the Steelers. In the NFL, the age 30 entitles you to the Senior Discount."


Ward is seeking an extension on his current contract, which is in its final year and pays him $1,668,750. He said Thursday that he plans to sit out of training camp - and is willing to bypass the season - if the Steelers don't satisfy his demands.

Ward did not say what those demands are, though it is known that he's turned down the richest offer in team history, better than the six-year, $14.2 million contract given to Ben Roethlisberger, who also received a $9 million signing bonus.

Cindrich did not offer an opinion on the amount of money Ward deserves, though he was clear in stating that he believes players under contract should not hold out. He also believes that player should be willing to walk away from the game for awhile, if not forever, if he plans to play hardball.

"If a guy is not ready to give it all up, then to make such a strong move without having a retreat plan in place, I don't think it's the best move," said Cindrich, who counts Steelers All-Pro linebacker James Farrior among his list of clients. "Sometimes, emotions get involved, but if you don't have a retreat plan, you can be in (trouble)."

Cindrich pointed out that Ward could be fined the maximum of $6,000, based on the newest collective bargaining agreement, for every day he misses training camp. If he misses the entire camp, that total would add up to more than $100,000. Moreover, Cindrich said the Steelers could force Ward to return 25 percent of his signing bonus, which would be $500,000, if not all of it, depending on the language of his contract.

"It can add up," Cindrich said.

If Ward chooses to hold out past training camp, he'd be fined for each regular-season game missed. If he were to hold out past the trade deadline in Week 6 (Tuesday, Oct. 18), he would not be permitted to return to the Steelers unless the team initiated a request for reinstatement.

If the Steelers chose not to reinstate, Ward would remain under contract for another season, preventing him from testing free agency next year.

And, if he were to sit out past Dec. 2, he would not be permitted to play this season under any circumstances.

"To me, you go into this thing as a loser," Cindrich said.

In Linta's estimation, players in Ward's situation (negotiating a deal with a year remaining on a contract) should be more agreeable to compromise.

"You ask yourself: What is the discount of doing the deal early and what is the discount of not uprooting your family?" Linta said. "I would put a premium of about 10 to 20 percent on it. So, let's say you're offered a signing bonus of $10 to $12 million and a salary of $6 million a year. You take a 20 percent discount off of that and I'd say you'd get about $8.5 million in guaranteed money and $4 to $5 million for the average."

Ward said Thursday his big concern is guaranteed money.

"I just want what's fair," he said. "I want to take care of my family. And I don't think what I'm doing is wrong."

Notes: Steelers second-round draft pick Bryant McFadden, a cornerback, landed a $1,079,00 signing bonus, in addition to four-year pact that pays him $230,000, $310,000, $381,000 and $400,000. Third-round pick Trai Essex, an offensive tackle, received a $460,000 bonus and a three-year deal that pays him $230,000, $310,000 and $381,000.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Wards path could get bumpy

Good find. I do agree that Ward is getting into dangerous waters. Although, I don't think it will go quite as far as sitting out the whole camp and season. I think the deal should be done soon and he could sit out some of camp unless the deal is agreed upon in the next day and a half. Either way I think this deal will be done and that those extremes talked about won't end up being taken.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: Wards path could get bumpy

This is another reason to feel that he wont hold out all year.

Quote:
If Ward chooses to hold out past training camp, he'd be fined for each regular-season game missed. If he were to hold out past the trade deadline in Week 6 (Tuesday, Oct. 18), he would not be permitted to return to the Steelers unless the team initiated a request for reinstatement.

If the Steelers chose not to reinstate, Ward would remain under contract for another season, preventing him from testing free agency next year.
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Old 07-30-2005, 12:33 AM   #4
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Default Re: Wards path could get bumpy

Very true. It's not a smart move and it leaves you in worse condition than where you started.
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