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Old 04-13-2008, 01:44 PM   #1
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Default Nice article about Hines

I got this in my google alert email.........it reminded of what a great football player and great person we Steelers fans have in Hines Ward. The day he retires (hopefully still Steeler) will be as bittersweet for me as when Jerome retired. (One can only hope Hines will get to announce his retirement with a Lombardi trophy in his hands! )

Ward delivers hit at sports banquet

By Cory Giger, cgiger@altoonamirror.com POSTED: April 13, 2008

Hines Ward was the guest speaker Saturday at the Blair County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet.
Men respect him. Women adore him. Kids look up to him.

Pittsburgh Steelers star wide receiver Hines Ward has a universal appeal that makes it nearly impossible not to like him.

He’s a tough guy. Just look at the hits he takes and delivers.

He’s a sweetheart. Just look at that ever-present smile.

He’s a role model. Just watch how he behaves on and off the field.

‘‘I just love life,’’ said Ward, the featured speaker at Saturday night’s Blair County Sports Hall of Fame Banquet. ‘‘I’m living my dream, and to be able to play in the NFL and wear the black and gold every day is a blessing for me.’’

Many Steelers fans would say the true blessing is having a player and person of Ward’s caliber on the team. The MVP of Super Bowl XL is one of the most respected players in the NFL and epitomizes Pittsburgh sports.

‘‘We’re just a blue-collar city,’’ Ward said, ‘‘and the fans, they know football, the whole ‘Steeler Nation.’ They know who’s out there, who’s putting it all on the field, and they respect that.’’

Ward has made a career of catching tough passes over the middle, and instead of running out of bounds like most receivers, he usually lowers his shoulder to deliver vicious hits on defensive players.

Also separating Ward from many of his peers is how he reacts after such a play. Rather than talking trash, he pops up and flashes a big smile that has become his trademark.

‘‘You can’t beat that smile,’’ said Megan McCloskey, 23, of Bellwood, who showed up to Saturday’s banquet with a Ward jersey and a purse with his No. 86 on it.

‘‘Hines Ward just comes across as so genuine,’’ McCloskey added. ‘‘He just exudes sportsmanship.’’

Ward didn’t hesitate when asked why it appears he’s always having so much fun.

‘‘I’m passionate about football,’’ he said. ‘‘I love everything, from getting tackled to playing football in the mud.’’

Ward let out a big laugh when talk of his crossover appeal came up, and he seemed well aware that he probably has just as many female fans as males.

‘‘A lot of females, they compliment me on my smile because it says when things are sad, they look at me for inspiration and it helps them get through the day,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s rare that you’ll really see a frown on my face. That’s just me living life. Life’s too short to be mad all the time.’’

Kids can learn how to play the game the right way by watching Ward. Several youngsters wore their No. 86 jerseys to Saturday’s banquet, including 8-year-old A.J. Labriola of Altoona.

‘‘I like when he slides and dives and catches the ball,’’ the young Steelers fan said.

Altoona Area High School football coach Phil Riccio said achieving the kind of success Ward has ‘‘comes from the character and the heart that the individual has.’’

‘‘If you have that type of character and that inside drive, you’re going to win and put yourself in position to be successful,’’ Riccio said. ‘‘That’s the type of thing we want our kids to aspire to.’’

Ward is the Steelers’ career leader in receptions (719), touchdown receptions (65) and receiving yardage (8,737), and he’s likely to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame after he retires.

The 32-year-old is preparing for his 11th season with the Steelers, and he knows he has to keep his body in shape because of the physical beating he takes.

‘‘I have to stay in pace with the younger guys because there’s a lot out there gunning for me, trying to knock the smile off my face,’’ he said.

No one has knocked the smile off yet, and it may never happen given Ward’s attitude about life and his career.

‘‘I’m very blessed,’’ Ward said. ‘‘I’m just happy and ecstatic that I’m doing something that I always dreamt [about] as a kid.’’

http://www.altoonamirror.com/page/co...2&showlayout=0
Check out the great picture.....lookin' good, Hines!
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:10 PM   #2
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

we'll see how much hines loves wearing the B & G when he's asked to restructer his deal, or take a pay cut.

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Ward is the Steelers? career leader in receptions (719), touchdown receptions (65) and receiving yardage (8,737), and he?s likely to be inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame after he retires.
hines is gonna have to have a couple more pro bowl like years to even get nominated for the HOF. there's some guys with pretty impressive resumes, that are still waiting to even get to the final ballot.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

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Originally Posted by MasterOfPuppets View Post
we'll see how much hines loves wearing the B & G when he's asked to restructer his deal, or take a pay cut.

hines is gonna have to have a couple more pro bowl like years to even get nominated for the HOF. there's some guys with pretty impressive resumes, that are still waiting to even get to the final ballot.
My gut says he'll take the cut to retire a Steeler.
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:17 PM   #4
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

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Originally Posted by stillers4me View Post
My gut says he'll take the cut to retire a Steeler.
i hope so.....
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:40 PM   #5
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

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My gut says he'll take the cut to retire a Steeler.
My gut says he will take the cut because he will not get a better deal somewhere else
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Old 04-13-2008, 02:49 PM   #6
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

I always feel so fortunate to root for a team that always seems to have such genuine human beings on it. So many of them seem to be such good guys, of have characters that make them stick out from every other teams players. So many unforgettable players that you can share the stories of many years down the line!
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:04 PM   #7
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

Quote:
He?s a tough guy. Just look at the hits he takes and delivers.

He?s a sweetheart. Just look at that ever-present smile.

He?s a role model. Just watch how he behaves on and off the field.
Take note young ones. This is the kind of player you should be.

Quote:
Ward has made a career of catching tough passes over the middle, and instead of running out of bounds like most receivers, he usually lowers his shoulder to deliver vicious hits on defensive players.

Also separating Ward from many of his peers is how he reacts after such a play. Rather than talking trash, he pops up and flashes a big smile that has become his trademark.
Up until this last season it would aggrevate me at times to see Hines smiling, when it seemed there was nothing to smile about (bad play, or losing, etc.). That was up until they played the Ravens, I believe. Hines was thrown the ball in the flat, and before the ball got there he was hit hard. A penalty was called on the defender, and Hines just got up like the hit was nothing. The whole time while walking back to the huddle he was smiling. That image you see all the time, him smiling. The next image is what caught my attention, and made me remember an old phrase; 'don't let the smile fool you'. As soon as he reached his teammates, still smiling, he said "f--king p--sy". That's when I knew that beneath the smile that man, or beast, was all business.

Quote:
Many Steelers fans would say the true blessing is having a player and person of Ward?s caliber on the team. The MVP of Super Bowl XL is one of the most respected players in the NFL and epitomizes Pittsburgh sports.
There have been some criticisms over the years (Wines Hard), but we all have been TRULY BLESSED to have had him in B & G.
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:50 PM   #8
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

Actually that one Jags corner knocked a smile off his face :O
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

With guys like Hines, it really adds to the history of our great franchise.
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Old 04-13-2008, 04:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: Nice article about Hines

oh man i hope he finishes here, he is such an amazing player and all round great guy! I will truly miss him.
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