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Old 11-16-2011, 06:50 AM   #1
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Default At end, Ward defines Steelers way

At end, Ward defines Steelers way
http://communityvoices.sites.post-ga...s-steelers-way
Written by Bob Smizik

One of the key elements that sets the Steelers apart from most NFL teams and what has played a large role in their success is a core of leadership that is passed from generation to generation.

Itís rare when there is a problem in the Steelers locker room. Other teams have them, the Steelers donít.

That leadership, that team-first belief, is manifesting itself today as what could have been an ugly disruption to the season is turning into a valuable learning experience for the younger Steelers.

Just as Hines Ward inherited the leadership mantel from Jerome Bettis and others, he is now passing it on in the best way possible: By personal example; by showing his teammates that -- always -- team comes first.

Ward has been a great player who will some day in enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But heís in the twilight of that great career. He was relegated to fourth receiver -- out of four -- in the game Sunday at Cincinnati. When Emmanuel Sanders returns from arthroscopic knee surgery, heíll be the fifth of five.

Some players might have sulked in such a circumstance and that would have been an easy path for a players as prideful as Ward. Others might have attempted to divide the locker room. Ward did neither. Not unexpectedly, he took the high road.

``Itís not about me,íí he said yesterday, two days after catching one pass against the Bengals and spending most of the game on the sideline. ``We won the game and thatís the bottom line.íí

Not only have younger receivers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown clearly surpassed Ward, but in the eyes of Mike Tomlin and the coaching staff so has veteran Jerricho Cotchery, in his first season with the Steelers.

In response to that status, Ward said, ``Itís different. Itís a different role. I am still going to be the biggest cheerleader because I want to win.íí

Ward is 19 catches away from becoming the ninth player in NFL history with 1,000. Based on the current depth chart, it looks like it will be difficult for him to reach 1,000 in the final six games and this could well be his final season.

Team and winning come first, but, hopefully, Tomlin will find a way to get Ward on the field and offensive coordinator Bruce Arians will call the plays that get Ward to the coveted 1,000 mark.

For those who doubt Wardís greatness, consider this:

He has caught more passes than John Stallworth and Lynn Swann combined. He has 3,200 more receiving yards than Stallworth. He has more than double the receiving yardage of Swann.

But in what might be his final days with the Steelers, Ward is showing, as he has throughout his career, that true greatness carries with it responsibilities off the field as well as on it.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #2
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

his regular starting days may be over but I'd still venture to say he has one season in him after this - if it were me I'd stick around one more year to at least be around my teammates and to eventually get the numbers - all the while getting a nice little paycheck. Nothing wrong with being one of the best Steelers receivers of all time - no matter where on the depth chart. I'd take him any day for leadership and stability over a brand new face.
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Old 11-16-2011, 08:49 AM   #3
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

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Originally Posted by steelfury02 View Post
his regular starting days may be over but I'd still venture to say he has one season in him after this - if it were me I'd stick around one more year to at least be around my teammates and to eventually get the numbers - all the while getting a nice little paycheck. Nothing wrong with being one of the best Steelers receivers of all time - no matter where on the depth chart. I'd take him any day for leadership and stability over a brand new face.
I agree. Ward's leadership can not be replaced. It's invaluable to the younger players. He is an asset not only to the offense, but to the entire team.

He has earned the right to finish out the contract. Yes, that's my opinion, he has earned the right and I can only hope that ownership does not do to him what they did with Woodson.
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Old 11-16-2011, 01:11 PM   #4
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

I honestly think that Ward should get a receiver's coach position for the Steelers. I think he would be great. The young receivers have all learned how to block from Ward. His influence on them is immeasurable. I agree he should get that last year but the salary cap and trying to keep the team intact with new contracts may make that impossible.
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

I think he will be in the Steelers organization for a very long time, kinda like Franco, but probably as a wide receivers coach and maybe up to a coordinator one day.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:08 PM   #6
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

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I honestly think that Ward should get a receiver's coach position for the Steelers. I think he would be great. The young receivers have all learned how to block from Ward. His influence on them is immeasurable. I agree he should get that last year but the salary cap and trying to keep the team intact with new contracts may make that impossible.
In reality, Ward has been an assistant receivers coach for years. He just hasn't held that title.
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

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I think he will be in the Steelers organization for a very long time, kinda like Franco, but probably as a wide receivers coach and maybe up to a coordinator one day.

I seem to remember seeing an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution where Ward expressed a desire to return to UGA after his NFL career.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:01 PM   #8
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

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I seem to remember seeing an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution where Ward expressed a desire to return to UGA after his NFL career.
Good for him. He would do more helping kids in college, than to deal with pro-players.
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Old 11-17-2011, 12:29 PM   #9
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Default Re: At end, Ward defines Steelers way

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I think he will be in the Steelers organization for a very long time, kinda like Franco, but probably as a wide receivers coach and maybe up to a coordinator one day.
Franco? Or do you mean Dick Hoak?
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