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Old 05-11-2006, 05:31 AM   #1
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Default Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

WR Ward will school rookies ... if they ask
Thursday, May 11, 2006
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Santonio Holmes made a good first impression on Hines Ward, personally when they met last week at the Steelers' training complex and professionally from what the veteran receiver has seen on highlight tapes.

Ward also wants to help the rookie receiver assimilate into the Steelers' offense, though he learned a lesson about offering such help from the previous two receivers the Steelers drafted in the first round. So, if Holmes wants his help, starting with minicamp this weekend, he'll have to ask for it.

"If he wants to be helped and asks, I'm more than willing," Ward said this week. "But for me to go out of the way to try to help somebody, I'm not going to do it. I did that before, and it didn't work."

Ward said he was rebuffed in his efforts to help Troy Edwards, drafted in the first round in 1999, and Plaxico Burress, drafted in the first round in 2000. Ward felt those two receivers did not respect him because he was drafted in the third round in 1998.

Their reaction, he said, was something like this: "How can a third-round guy who doesn't even start -- I'm here to take your job -- help me?"

Eventually, Ward reacted this way: "All right, help yourself. You're a first-rounder anyway, you're here to beat me out."

"So, I stopped doing that," he said.

Nevertheless, he took Antwaan Randle El under his wing when the Steelers drafted him in the second round in 2002, he said, because Randle El asked for his help. He would do the same for Holmes or wide receiver Willie Reid, a third-round draft choice this year. He also believes that, with the loss of Randle El to the Washington Redskins in free agency, the rookies can help the offense.

"I think it's great. From what I've seen, they're playmakers. Does that mean we'll throw the ball more? I hope so. But ... probably not.

"I really don't know much about Reid other than what I've read about him. I know he's from Georgia. Santonio, I know he's a playmaker, and we need that in our offense because you only get so many opportunities, and the opportunities you do get you have to make something happen. If you want to be our stretch-the-field guy, you may get two opportunities a game. You're not going to get many."

It's unlikely any young receiver joining the Steelers would have less than abundant respect for Ward, 30, the reigning Super Bowl MVP, a four-time Pro Bowler, three-time Steelers MVP and holder of most of the club receiving records. The dynamics of the situation today also differ from that of six and seven years ago when the Steelers lacked depth at receiver and still were unsure of the young Ward.

Ward, though, apparently still harbors resentment over what he perceived were the team's attempts to push him aside in favor of Edwards and Burress. Sports Illustrated quotes him this week as saying he has never had a warm relationship with coach Bill Cowher.

"I don't have anything to say to him," he told the magazine. "After what he did to me, after how he treated me, no. The numbers I put up? The seasons I had, for them to keep on bringing in guys ...?"

Ward led the Steelers in receiving in each of the past six seasons and tied Edwards in 1999 for the lead with 61 receptions. Ward holds the team record with 574 receptions and has the top three receiving seasons in Steelers history. Edwards eventually fell out of favor and was traded in 2002. Burress signed with the New York Giants as a free agent last year.

Said Cowher: "Our decision to draft wide receivers in the first round of the 1999 and 2000 NFL drafts was not a reflection on Hines Ward. We had lost a couple of our top veteran receivers to free agency over the previous couple of offseasons, and drafting receivers in the first round of those two drafts was more a reflection of us trying to strengthen that position."

Perhaps Ward can still use that as his personal motivation, or somehow believe that another receiver, Holmes or Reid, was drafted to replace him. "Maybe one of those guys are supposed to take my job when I get older," he said.

He admits he thrives on such motivation. He says he was driven last year to prove wrong those people who thought he could not flourish without Burress and to show he was worth his new $27 million contract.

"How do I follow up?" Ward asks. "What can I do? Every year, I had motivation to do something. People said I couldn't do this, yet we won the Super Bowl and I'm Super Bowl MVP. Now, what's my next goal to try to set for myself?

"Every year, you have to prove yourself, there's nothing guaranteed. Jerry Rice said every year you get younger guys coming in and trying to replace you. You're Super Bowl MVP. My god, what's the next goal? I'm in new territory. I'm still looking."
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Old 05-11-2006, 05:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

"If he wants to be helped and asks, I'm more than willing," Ward said this week. "But for me to go out of the way to try to help somebody, I'm not going to do it. I did that before, and it didn't work."

Edwards and Plaxico.....no surprise there I guess? After dealing with those two you can't blame the guy for not wanting to go out of his way to help a WR.

and

Sports Illustrated quotes him this week as saying he has never had a warm relationship with coach Bill Cowher.

"I don't have anything to say to him," he told the magazine. "After what he did to me, after how he treated me, no. The numbers I put up? The seasons I had, for them to keep on bringing in guys ...?"

That shocked me. While I can understand where Ward's coming from to a degree, I never knew that he holds that much resentment towards Cowher. Those are pretty strong words. While it obviously has no effect on the team (Super Bowl XL Champs), I can't help but feel a littled shocked by his comments. Personally, I never knew there was resentment between the two to begin with?
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:01 AM   #3
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

I think SI twisted his words (about Cower) because Cower was the one that talked him out of his holdout.
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:08 AM   #4
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

Quote:
Originally Posted by pucho58
I think SI twisted his words (about Cower) because Cower was the one that talked him out of his holdout.
Well I'm sure the local media and other news outlets will be asking him questions pertaining to his comments. If he comes out and states that he was misquoted by SI, then it's a different story. Until then..........
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Old 05-11-2006, 07:36 AM   #5
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

I really think this is nothing more than a guy that has accomplished more than he ever dreamed of accomplishing in the NFL trying to gear himself up for another Super Bowl run....

Hines is the ultimate team player, he proved it with how he handled a holdout a year ago, so I am not worried about Hines Ward becoming a selfish guy all of the sudden.....

And as far as Cowher goes... he is the quintessential player's coach and had a profound influence on both Hines ending his holdout and the clubs' FO extending his deal.
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Old 05-11-2006, 08:19 AM   #6
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

Hope this (Feuding between player and coach) is much ado about nothing, because, quite frankly, this is the kind of stuff that goes on in the Bengals, Ravens and Raiders locker rooms, not the Steelers.

As for Holmes, I'm SURE he'll be willing to tutor under Ward, and will have the utmost respect for him.

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Old 05-11-2006, 09:21 AM   #7
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

If a rookie comes into the league acting like hes better then someone who has been around for a while then hes setting himself up for failure. I don't blame Ward at all. I'm sure if Santonio comes and asks for help Hines will damn near give him the shirt off his back to help him and the team.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:03 AM   #8
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

Not sure what to make of Hines's comments. I thought that him and Coach Cowher got along fantastically, especially, as many of you have pointed out, after Cowher was instrumental in contacting Ward to resolve the contract situation. This sort of quote seems out of character for #86. Why wouldn't he want a speedy receiver like Santonio Holmes in the mix to take some attention off of him and open the field up? I don't think the Steelers drafted Holmes for the purpose of replacing Ward as the #1.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

We (and Hines as well) might want to take into consideration the makeup of those two he attempted to tutor.... Edwards and Plexi-glass.... not exactly two visions of work ethic and positive, team-oriented attitude.
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Old 05-11-2006, 11:28 AM   #10
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Default Re: Ward Willing to Help WR's (interesting quote)

I don't blame Hines for not wanting to go out of his way to tutor them.They should have to come and ask him,he's the Steelers all-time receptions leader and the reigning Super Bowl MVP.I am sure Holmes will ask for some tutoring,and Hines will do everything he can to help.

And as far as the Cowher quote,he was probally misquoted.Maybe when Edwards and Plexi-glass were first drafted he did feel that way.I bet they took his words and twisted them to make them fit the peice they wanted to write,like so many reporters do.
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