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PSU_dropout43
09-10-2009, 03:50 PM
Hines Ward not worried about being labeled 'dirty player'
By Walter Villa


PITTSBURGH — Standing in front of his locker at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training facility, Hines Ward certainly doesn’t look or act like one of the toughest players in the NFL.

At 6 feet and 205 pounds, the former Forest Park High and University of Georgia star doesn’t appear to be big enough to knock out linebackers and defensive linemen.

And the way he thoughtfully and calmly answers each question the media throws his way, Ward would more easily pass for a college professor than an NFL hit man.

But when he steps on the field — as he will Thursday when the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers open the NFL’s 2009 season at home against the Tennessee Titans — Ward is on the minds of every defensive player.

“When he is on the field, the 11 guys on the other side have their heads on a swivel,” ESPN’s Merril Hoge said. “He even decleated [345-pound Ravens defensive tackle] Haloti Ngata.”

When asked if Ward is the best-blocking wide receiver in the game today, Hoge was emphatic.

“There’s nobody even close — he’s 1 and 1A,” Hoge said. “You can argue that he blocks better than most running backs and fullbacks. Ward is one of the best hitters in the league — period. He never shies away from anyone. He’ll block a guy head-on, sideways, doesn’t matter. The Cardinals’ Anquan Boldin is a physical blocker, but he is not close to being able to strike like Ward.

“What Ward has is a gift. He has the desire to block, first and foremost. But he also has nastiness, leverage, technique. His timing is unique. He has a stunning jab — a quick strike. When he blocks, he goes up and through you.”

That was certainly the case last season, when Ward blocked 6-2, 240-pound linebacker Keith Rivers of the Bengals. The shot sent Rivers to the hospital with a broken jaw.

“They call me ‘dirty player’ or whatever,” Ward said when asked about his blocking skills. “I really don’t care what people call me. My teammates know what I do.”

Ward was not penalized by the refs and was not fined by the league on what was deemed a clean play. But after the season, the NFL created the “Ward Rule,” which makes illegal a blindside block if it comes from the blockers’ helmet, shoulder or forearm and lands to the neck or head of the defender.

Impact player? Ward is all of that — from the way he hits to the way his play has impacted the game.

Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, a former star defensive back who has been in the NFL for 50 years as a player or coach, rated Ward’s blocking skills “right at the top.”

But LeBeau also made sure to point out that the Steelers receiver is an all-around player.

“He’s got the whole package,” LeBeau said. “He’s a great route-runner. He’s a tremendous catcher of the ball. The more important the catch, the more likely he is to make it.

“I’ve been with him for 10 years, and I just don’t see him drop the ball hardly at all — practice or whatever. Blocking is just another thing he excels at.

“Blocking is just tackling without being able to use your arms. I’ve always told Hines that I’d take him as a safety when he gets done playing receiver. I’m sure he’d be a very good one.”

LeBeau is probably correct. But right now, Ward is having too much fun playing receiver. At age 33, he is a four-time Pro Bowl receiver and a two-time Super Bowl champion. He also earned the MVP trophy in Super Bowl XL and is the Steelers’ leader in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Perhaps what makes Ward so good is his toughness. Despite finishing his college career second to Herschel Walker on Georgia’s all-purpose-yards chart, Ward was just a third-round pick of the Steelers in 1998, a “snub” he still uses as motivation.

“Blocking was how I had to make a name for myself,” he said. “I had to make my presence known on the field, and it wasn’t going to be from catching 10 balls a game.

“When I got the opportunity to knock somebody out, I took advantage. Over time, people started to notice. ‘Oh man, this guy is really knocking heads off.’ ”

Is Ward the best blocking receiver?

“I don’t know,” he said. “There are other guys around the league who are fierce. Boldin is one of them. I watch some of his film. He attacks defensive guys kind of the way I do.

“I will say this: When you play against me, it’s all-out war for four quarters.”

Link: http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/hines-war ... 35036.html (http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/hines-ward-not-worried-135036.html)

I don't doubt Hines can decleat Ngata, but I simply don't remember it.

frankthetank1
09-10-2009, 05:53 PM
Hines Ward not worried about being labeled 'dirty player'
By Walter Villa


PITTSBURGH — Standing in front of his locker at the Pittsburgh Steelers’ training facility, Hines Ward certainly doesn’t look or act like one of the toughest players in the NFL.

At 6 feet and 205 pounds, the former Forest Park High and University of Georgia star doesn’t appear to be big enough to knock out linebackers and defensive linemen.

And the way he thoughtfully and calmly answers each question the media throws his way, Ward would more easily pass for a college professor than an NFL hit man.

But when he steps on the field — as he will Thursday when the defending Super Bowl champion Steelers open the NFL’s 2009 season at home against the Tennessee Titans — Ward is on the minds of every defensive player.

“When he is on the field, the 11 guys on the other side have their heads on a swivel,” ESPN’s Merril Hoge said. “He even decleated [345-pound Ravens defensive tackle] Haloti Ngata.”

When asked if Ward is the best-blocking wide receiver in the game today, Hoge was emphatic.

“There’s nobody even close — he’s 1 and 1A,” Hoge said. “You can argue that he blocks better than most running backs and fullbacks. Ward is one of the best hitters in the league — period. He never shies away from anyone. He’ll block a guy head-on, sideways, doesn’t matter. The Cardinals’ Anquan Boldin is a physical blocker, but he is not close to being able to strike like Ward.

“What Ward has is a gift. He has the desire to block, first and foremost. But he also has nastiness, leverage, technique. His timing is unique. He has a stunning jab — a quick strike. When he blocks, he goes up and through you.”

That was certainly the case last season, when Ward blocked 6-2, 240-pound linebacker Keith Rivers of the Bengals. The shot sent Rivers to the hospital with a broken jaw.

“They call me ‘dirty player’ or whatever,” Ward said when asked about his blocking skills. “I really don’t care what people call me. My teammates know what I do.”

Ward was not penalized by the refs and was not fined by the league on what was deemed a clean play. But after the season, the NFL created the “Ward Rule,” which makes illegal a blindside block if it comes from the blockers’ helmet, shoulder or forearm and lands to the neck or head of the defender.

Impact player? Ward is all of that — from the way he hits to the way his play has impacted the game.

Steelers defensive coordinator bad word LeBeau, a former star defensive back who has been in the NFL for 50 years as a player or coach, rated Ward’s blocking skills “right at the top.”

But LeBeau also made sure to point out that the Steelers receiver is an all-around player.

“He’s got the whole package,” LeBeau said. “He’s a great route-runner. He’s a tremendous catcher of the ball. The more important the catch, the more likely he is to make it.

“I’ve been with him for 10 years, and I just don’t see him drop the ball hardly at all — practice or whatever. Blocking is just another thing he excels at.

“Blocking is just tackling without being able to use your arms. I’ve always told Hines that I’d take him as a safety when he gets done playing receiver. I’m sure he’d be a very good one.”

LeBeau is probably correct. But right now, Ward is having too much fun playing receiver. At age 33, he is a four-time Pro Bowl receiver and a two-time Super Bowl champion. He also earned the MVP trophy in Super Bowl XL and is the Steelers’ leader in career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

Perhaps what makes Ward so good is his toughness. Despite finishing his college career second to Herschel Walker on Georgia’s all-purpose-yards chart, Ward was just a third-round pick of the Steelers in 1998, a “snub” he still uses as motivation.

“Blocking was how I had to make a name for myself,” he said. “I had to make my presence known on the field, and it wasn’t going to be from catching 10 balls a game.

“When I got the opportunity to knock somebody out, I took advantage. Over time, people started to notice. ‘Oh man, this guy is really knocking heads off.’ ”

Is Ward the best blocking receiver?

“I don’t know,” he said. “There are other guys around the league who are fierce. Boldin is one of them. I watch some of his film. He attacks defensive guys kind of the way I do.

“I will say this: When you play against me, it’s all-out war for four quarters.”

Link: http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/hines-war ... 35036.html (http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/hines-ward-not-worried-135036.html)

I don't doubt Hines can decleat Ngata, but I simply don't remember it.

i dont remember that either. maybe it was a mistake and they meant bart scott

decleater
09-10-2009, 06:34 PM
I don't recall that particular decleating either but I'm all for it! :tt2

AngryAsian
09-10-2009, 06:57 PM
I thought it happened in the same game he clocked Bart Scott and Ed Reed. Apparently it did.


Larry Fitzgerald, Hines Ward bring work, not whines, to Super Bowl XLIII

Posted by Aaron Fentress
The Oregonian
January 27, 2009 21:07PM


TAMPA, Fla. -- In a league with several flamboyant -- and often obnoxious -- "me-first" wide receivers, the two players most heralded at that position in Super Bowl XLIII provide equal production without the headaches.

Pittsburgh's Hines Ward has put together a potential Hall of Fame career, and Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald has had one of the greatest playoff runs for a wide receiver in NFL history.

Yet both lead their teams with their work ethic and leave whining and finger pointing to others.

For Ward, playing wide receiver isn't merely about catches and yards. He doesn't believe that a one-reception game is necessarily a bad day.

"I know all wideouts, we all want the ball," he said Tuesday at the Super Bowl media day. "There's no question. You wouldn't be the type of wideout that you are today if you didn't want the ball. But how (wide receivers) deal with it is really under their own circumstances."

Ward has amassed consistent, if not spectacular statistics in the Steelers' ball-control offense. But he attained superstar status after he was chosen the most valuable player of Super Bowl XL, in which the Steelers beat Seattle 21-10 in February 2006.

Afterward, Ward grew closer to his Korean heritage. Ward was born in 1976 in Seoul, South Korea, to a Korean mother and an African American father. The family soon moved to the United States, where his parents divorced and Ward grew up poor, living with his mother.

As a child, Ward said, he was teased about his mixed ethnicity and grew up ashamed of his heritage. But after the Super Bowl win, he visited South Korea and was welcomed as a hero by its citizens.

That experience, Ward has said, left him humbled, and his family's struggles during his youth helped toughen him up for the brutal world of the NFL.
Ross D. Franklin/The Associated Press Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward reacts while being interviewed during the team's media day for Super Bowl XLIII Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2009, in Tampa, Fla. The Steelers will play the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL Super Bowl football game on Sunday, Feb. 1.

'Heartbeat' of Steelers

Ward might be the only wide receiver in league history to be accused of playing dirty. He has assembled an impressive list of bone-crushing blocks during his career, including one on 345-pound Baltimore defensive tackle Haloti Ngata on a reverse play by wide receiver Nate Washington this season.

In the same game, Ward leveled Ravens linebacker Bart Scott. Baltimore players reportedly put out a bounty on Ward after that hit. .

"I'm not going to apologize for the way I play, because when I go across the middle, nobody's going to apologize for hitting me and knocking me out, so why should I apologize to those guys?" he said.

Ward's willingness to do the dirty work endears him to coaches and teammates.

Washington called him a "big brother." Pittsburgh offensive coordinator Bruce Arns called Ward the "heartbeat to our football team." And Steelers wide receivers coach Randy Fichtner said Ward is the "ultimate professional," whose work ethic rubs off on younger players.

"I love coaching him because he wants to be challenged, he wants to be coached," Fichtner said. "You don't have to hold his hand. He understands that this is a team sport. Individual accolades come because of things like (going to the Super Bowl)."

With 9,780 career receiving yards and 72 receiving touchdowns, a Super Bowl MVP award and a hard-nosed style at his position, Ward should have a strong case for a spot in the Hall of Fame.

"The body of work he's done at one place, the Super Bowls, being Pittsburgh's all-time leader at the position ...," Fichtner said. "All I know is that he's not done yet. He has a lot more football left in him."

Staying humble

Ward believes Fitzgerald, 25, is just getting started on his own Hall of Fame career.

"I was a big fan of Larry's when he was at (the University of) Pittsburgh," Ward said. "I got a chance to work out in the same facility and watch him practice on the field. I knew he was going to be special because he has a great head on his shoulders. He's a humble kid."

With 426 receptions in his five seasons, Fitzgerald doesn't have much reason to complain about being a target of the Cardinals' quarterbacks. But even on slow days, he refrains from appearing selfish.

Part of that could be attributed to his upbringing.

Fitzgerald's father, Larry Fitzgerald Sr., is the sports editor of the Minnesota Spokesman Recorder, Minneapolis' African American newspaper. While the younger Fitzgerald was growing up, his father took him to events. Larry Fitzgerald spent several seasons as a ball boy for the Minnesota Vikings, then coached by Dennis Green, and learned the tricks of the wide receiver trade from stars such as Cris Carter, who became a family friend.

Watching such players prepare, Fitzgerald said, helped him avoid getting into trouble.

"I didn't go out. I didn't drink. I didn't smoke. I didn't do a lot of the things that other kids were doing in my neighborhood," he said, "just because I think my dad gave me the opportunity to see some of the NFL players and what they were doing and the sacrifices they were making."

He didn't avoid academic trouble, however.

Fitzgerald developed into a high school all-American, but poor grades prevented him from getting into the schools that recruited him. So his parents sent him to Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne, Pa., where he became more disciplined.

That helped him get into the University of Pittsburgh. But in 2003, his mother, Carol, died after fighting breast cancer, and Fitzgerald used her memory to push forward. In 2004, Arizona, coached by Green, selected him third overall in the NFL draft.

Fitzgerald had 100-catch seasons in 2005 and 2007 for losing teams before this season's run to the Super Bowl. He has 35 receptions and five touchdowns in three playoff games and has a playoff-record 419 receiving yards -- with one postseason game remaining.

"I think the sky is the limit for Larry," Arizona wide receiver Anquan Boldin said. "He's still young and still learning about this game."

Fitzgerald remains humble. His desire to get better makes him easier to coach.

"Larry doesn't think he's the best in the game," Arizona wide receivers coach Mike Miller said. "Larry says he wants to be at the end of his career the best in the game. He keeps that in front of him."

Fitzgerald's work ethic, like Ward's for Pittsburgh, rubs off on his teammates as well.

"(In practice), you'll see him catch a pass and run 50 yards downfield just because," running back Tim Hightower said. "Or, dive and catch one-handed passes, all the little things. It's like it's a game for him in practice."

Said Arizona coach Ken Whisenhunt: "When you are trying to hold your team accountable to those things, when you have a player like Larry that is willing to do those things, it kind of sets the standard for your team."

-- Aaron Fentress: 503-221-8211; aaronfentress@news.oregonian.com

PSU_dropout43
09-10-2009, 07:28 PM
Cool.

Thanks.