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Old 08-02-2005, 02:25 AM   #81
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

Ward's agent working on next move
By Joe Bendel
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, August 2, 2005

A day after Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert issued an ultimatum to Hines Ward, the agent for the Pro Bowl wide receiver was still trying to formulate a response.
"I can't say what we're going to do," Eugene Parker said Monday. "I just can't say. I don't know if we have any special plan of attack or any reaction to Kevin's comments. We weren't the ones who said we weren't willing to talk."

Colbert said Sunday the team would not negotiate a contract extension for Ward until the latter showed up for training camp, which officially began at 6 p.m. Sunday.

Ward and the Steelers had been working on a deal in the offseason, but it reached an impasse when he turned down the richest contract offer in Steelers history. The Steelers turned down Ward's counter-offer.

Ward has a year remaining on a deal that pays him $1.66 million this season. He is seeking an extension that would feature significant guaranteed money and place him among the elite wideouts in the NFL.

But as things stand now, negotiations are over unless Ward returns to the team. Parker said he is contemplating his next move, but was non-committal when asked if he'd consider summoning Ward to camp in order to restart negotiations.

"All I can say is that we haven't taken that step. This is the first step and it's fresh, so we have to take time on it," he said. "And we have to decide if there's anything else we can do."

The Steelers can fine Ward up to $6,000 for every day he misses camp. That decision would be made by coach Bill Cowher, who said yesterday that it would be handled on an "in-house basis."

Parker would like to avoid such a scenario, although he offered no assurances when asked if Ward would make it to camp - or if he'd even play for the Steelers this season.

"Do I expect it?" he said. "I can use the term, 'Hope.' I would hope it would work out. I tend to be a positive person. From that standpoint, I would have positive expectations. Hines Ward epitomizes the Steelers. And I just hope there's a way to work things out."

How does Parker suppose it can happen?

"The Steelers have to answer those questions," he said. "We can't be overly concerned about what the Steelers do or don't do. If we could control the things the Steelers do, we would have a deal. So, there are things that are out of our control, and we can't worry about it. Whatever they're going to do, they're going to do.

"We've had enough talks with them, and we knew where they were coming from and they knew where we were coming from. I can't predict what will happen in the future."

Parker said he never has had a client hold out an entire season in his 20 years as a players representative. If Ward turns out to be the first, it could be costly, considering he could be fined for missed games, potentially forfeit 25 percent of his signing bonus ($500,000) and remain the property of the Steelers for '06, thereby missing out on free-agency.

Last week, Ward indicated that the progress in negotiations was unsatisfactory, due in large part to the amount of guaranteed money he was offered. He'd like to receive a signing bonus that is commensurate with some of the league's top wideouts, upwards of $8 million. Parker said Ward was emotional when he went public with those statements.

"I really didn't want Hines getting into it," Parker said. "We just think it's best not to discuss numbers."

Parker said Ward is currently working out on his own and awaiting a verdict on his immediate future. He is also torn by the situation.

"I think he has a lot of mixed emotions," Parker said. "He's a football player, but he's also a family man and a business man, and he has mixed emotions, as would be expected."

Link: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trib.../s_359413.html
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Old 08-02-2005, 02:26 AM   #82
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

Cowher: 'It's unfortunate that it has come to this'
By Joe Bendel
TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, August 2, 2005

Steelers coach Bill Cowher conducted his annual run test Monday without star wide receiver Hines Ward, who is holding out of training camp for more money.
It is a distraction that the veteran boss could do without, yet he realizes contract negotiations can get sticky.

"Let me just say this about the Hines Ward situation," Cowher said, addressing the media about the holdout for the first time. "First of all, Hines Ward, I love him as a player. He's very respected on this football team. Not just by the players, but by the whole organization. It's unfortunate that it has come to this. We're hopeful that he'll get here in the near future."

This is just the second time in his 14 years Cowher has faced a holdout by a veteran under contract. Running back Barry Foster did it 12 years ago.

Unlike his predecessor, Chuck Noll, who uttered the famous words "Franco who?" when future Hall of Famer Franco Harris held out in 1984, Cowher was much kinder in discussing Ward, a four-time Pro Bowler.

"We are going to move on, with or without him," Cowher said. "Hopefully, this thing will rectify itself, and we're going to proceed forward with the players that are here. I'm not going to answer questions about it on a day-to-day basis, but I wanted to make a statement from the very beginning."

Cowher has not been in contact with Ward in recent days, but ...

"I take all phone calls," he said. "I have an open door policy and that will not change. There has been communication with his representatives and with our people. There hasn't been a lack of communication at all."

Without Ward, the passing game could falter, given the fact Ward is averaging 95 receptions the past four seasons. He also embodies the Steelers' persona - blue-collar and tough - and is a devastating downfield blocker.

Cowher wouldn't speculate on how long Ward might sit out - the Steelers refuse to negotiate his desired extension until he reports to camp - but he said he's hopeful.

"All you can do is deal with the circumstances that this football team is dealt," he said. "It happens. That's why you've got 53 guys (on the final roster). This is an unfortunate circumstance, but we need to be prepared to move on - and we will."

Cowher has the option to fine Ward up to $6,000 for each day of camp he misses, although he didn't reveal if he'll exercise that right. "That will be dealt with in-house," he said.

In Ward's absence, Antwaan Randle El will move into Ward's spot at split end and free-agent signee Cedrick Wilson will line up at flanker. Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will have to adjust without his playmaker, at least for a while.

"It's probably just going to affect the offense, him being such an integral part," Roethlisberger said. "But just like in the season when you need a big play and need someone to come through, you can count on Hines. And I know when we need him, we'll go to Hines."

On a positive note, Roethlisberger can work more closely with rookie tight end Heath Miller and Wilson in Ward's absence.

"Getting those guys in a lot more (during camp) will help us utilize them, and, hopefully, get us on the same page," Roethlisberger said.

Link: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/trib.../s_359452.html
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Old 08-02-2005, 03:15 PM   #83
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

We have seen the last of ward in a steelers uniform....unless they franchise his butt next year...Whenever the steelers have offered a huge contract like this and its been turned down they have never offered another..(rod woodson)Ward is a good WR but not a great WR he dosn't have the speed, hands, nor height to be a top paid WR.....great blocker yes but so is dan krieder but you won't see him making 9million a year.....Trade him there's always other teams looking for overpaid WR's Let's got Zamir
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:08 AM   #84
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

Staley understands what Ward is going through
By Jim Wexell, For the Herald-Standard
08/03/2005

LATROBE - At one time in his pro career he could've run for governor of Pennsylvania and won in a landslide. He was that popular.

Not only was he a good football player, he had the heart of a lion. He was beloved in the city, a flat-out fan favorite. And then he held out with a year remaining on his contract and things turned ugly. He became known as the selfish guy, who - instead of reporting to camp and helping his team come together for an expected run at a title - was only worried about how much money he could squeeze from the organization.

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Duce Staley finally did report to the Philadelphia Eagles to end a 26-day holdout. But a year later, he was gone, and all the principals involved, fans included, moved on. Staley knows exactly what Hines Ward is going through.

"I was definitely in a similar situation," Staley said. "I was just laughing about it last night."

It's easy to laugh now, but at the time - the 2003 pre-season - Staley felt the world crashing down around him. He used to be known as a winner in Philadelphia, but the term changed not-so-subtly to "whiner". ESPN once ran a nifty little scoreboard that compared all the players who were in camp with all of the players who weren't.

"All the other players, however many it was, on every team were in camp except Duce Staley," he said. "That made me feel bad, worse than anything."

At 28, Staley was coming off his best pro season and he wanted compensated, not only for future years but for being underpaid in the past. But then he had to crawl back to camp without an extension. Staley played out the year as the second-teamer and then was gone, although he did shine in the playoffs.

Remember the Steelers' last playoff game? You can count on one finger the number of Pittsburgh Steelers who played at a championship level, and still Ward, like Staley before him, cannot make a case for past considerations.

"I definitely know what he's going through," said Staley, who was the subject of resentment even after returning. He doesn't expect Ward will see a similar fate.

"No. He's well loved," Staley said. "You can't even measure the time, commitment and work he's put in on the field. You can't even measure it. You can't measure his heart; you can't measure his determination. He's a warrior."

Rest of the article: http://www.heraldstandard.com/site/n...d=468632&rfi=6
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:31 AM   #85
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

I'd expect the fans to cheer on Ward assuming he comes back in some type of timely manner. As long as its a short holdout without alot of harsh words exchanged. He'll get some boos for sure, but he's so well admired by all the fans that not even this, unless it turns really ugly, will turn everyone against him.
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Old 08-03-2005, 01:41 AM   #86
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

I think one thing that helps Ward is he has always been a very classy guy. When I met him a few years ago he was very friendly and talkative with the fans. Fans appreciate that and remember that.
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Old 08-03-2005, 12:11 PM   #87
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

If Ward sits out most of training camp, many of the fans are going to turn on him. Right now he is a fan favorite because of his talent and personality. Thats only going to get him so far though.
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Old 08-03-2005, 04:36 PM   #88
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

Quote:
Originally Posted by pitt
If Ward sits out most of training camp, many of the fans are going to turn on him. Right now he is a fan favorite because of his talent and personality. Thats only going to get him so far though.

I agree but I also think that fans are happy when were winning. Even if Ward holds out into preseason and plays in the regular season and catches TD's after TD"s, the fans will love him again.
As long as the Steelers are winning, the fans are usually happy!!!!!
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Old 08-04-2005, 12:30 AM   #89
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

I saw on some other boards that people were putting what kind of contract Hines should get. What do you all think in terms of years and the overall yearly salary?
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Old 08-04-2005, 01:27 PM   #90
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Default Re: WR Ward turns down Steelers' offer - Threatens to sit out entire season

Quote:
Originally Posted by Prosdo
I saw on some other boards that people were putting what kind of contract Hines should get. What do you all think in terms of years and the overall yearly salary?

5 yrs 32.5 million


That does get him among the upperechlon receivers. In terms of money
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