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hawaiiansteel
10-11-2011, 10:08 PM
Steelers' Receiver Hines Ward has Always been a Great Athlete

by Anthony Defeo on Oct 11, 2011

http://cdn1.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/2052459/92348_APTOPIX_Titans_Steelers_Football.jpg

There are a lot of things in football that are relative to the sport. If you're a 285 pound defensive end, you're considered "undersized." If you're a wide receiver or defensive back who runs a 4.6 in the forty-yard dash, you're considered "slow." If you're a 6'1" quarterback, you're considered "short." And, of course, regardless of what position you play in football, once you reach the age of 30, you're considered "old."

In the football world, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has never been considered very big or fast for his position. And relative to most receivers in the NFL, he doesn't seem very athletic. But make no mistake, Hines Ward has always been a tremendous athlete.

When we see him out there mixing it up with linebackers and defensive ends, it's easy to forget that Ward is a very talented wide receiver with tremendous ability. How many times have we witnessed Hines make amazing tip-toe catches near the sideline or diving grabs over-the-middle with defenders hanging all over him? Remember the AFC Championship Game in Denver when Ward tipped a pass away from Champ Bailey and managed to come down with the ball right before getting nailed by John Lynch? Hines obviously showed tremendous heart and guts, and he demonstrated that he is a very "headsy" player by keeping the football alive long enough to make the catch for a critical first down. But that play, made with with all-world talents like Champ Bailey and John Lynch fighting for the same football, was also a testament to the great athlete that number 86 has always been.

Hines Ward has always done a lot of things well, but I believe his knack for getting into the end zone may be his greatest talent. To quote Tunch Ilkin: "Nobody smells the goal line like Hines Ward."

Some might call it passion and determination that has led to some of Ward's most memorable touchdowns. Who can forget the one he scored against Chicago in 2005 when he spun around and ran through several Bears on his way to a 14 yard score that you had to see to believe. And what about that day in Atlanta in 2006 when Hines managed to maneuver his way on a 70 yard touchdown catch and run despite losing his shoe in the middle of the play? Yes, those were two great examples of Ward's desire to score a touchdown for his team against all odds, but they were also plays that were made by a high-caliber athlete.

Today, at 35, Ward must also deal with being considered old for a football player, but "Papa Smurf" is still a great athlete, and there is no better example of that than his second touchdown catch in Sunday's 38-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field.

In the boxscore, it just looks like a simple Ben Roethlsiberger to Hines Ward five-yard touchdown pass, but watching it live or on tv really gave you an appreciation for the athleticism that Hines displayed on the play. Ward took a quick pass from Roethlisberger near the two-yard line and, with one step, jumped over Titans' defensive back Michael Griffin and landed in the end zone. It was poetry in motion. Not bad for an "old man."

Right after Jerome Bettis ran over Brian Urlacher for a short touchdown run in that same Bears game I mentioned earlier, Steelers play-by-play man Bill Hilgrove said, "if you asked me to show you what the Bus is all about, I would point to that play right there."

Well, if I had to sum-up Hines Ward's career with one play, I would point to that touchdown against the Titans this past Sunday. On a play that literally took about two seconds, Hines demonstrated his heart, passion, guts, awareness AND athleticism.

There are many ways to describe Hines Ward, and "great athlete" should always be near the top of the list.

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... #storyjump (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/10/11/2482951/pittsburgh-steelers-hines-ward-nfl-receiving-records#storyjump)

DukieBoy
10-11-2011, 10:29 PM
Truth

fordfixer
10-11-2011, 10:53 PM
:Agree

Shoe
10-11-2011, 11:29 PM
If I'm not mistaken, he made a play like this over Champ Bailey. Correct if wrong.

I also recall that run when he outran DeAngelo Hall with one shoe as a sign of just how athletic he really was.

focosteeler
10-11-2011, 11:57 PM
If I'm not mistaken, he made a play like this over Champ Bailey. Correct if wrong.

I also recall that run when he outran DeAngelo Hall with one shoe as a sign of just how athletic he really was.

I enjoyed the jump over Champ Bailey very much....took the picture and made it a poster, gave it to my roommate for christmas..he tore it up, stupid donkeys fan :D

hawaiiansteel
10-12-2011, 01:01 AM
If I'm not mistaken, he made a play like this over Champ Bailey. Correct if wrong.

I also recall that run when he outran DeAngelo Hall with one shoe as a sign of just how athletic he really was.

I enjoyed the jump over Champ Bailey very much....took the picture and made it a poster, gave it to my roommate for christmas..he tore it up, stupid donkeys fan :D

:D

http://youtu.be/RScFqpwKEvE

http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2009/1110/20091110__20091110_C09_SP10PBXBROSIDE~p1_200.JPG

fordfixer
10-12-2011, 11:10 PM
Hines Ward still thriving for Steelers at 35
By WILL GRAVES, AP Sports Writer

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/art ... 05a677ac3e (http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iHFV2MepneoqecfhpSBvz2d3sYpA?docId=41bcbca88 e2a44a6a1f20b05a677ac3e)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Hines Ward doesn't know where it comes from, really.

The Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver doesn't have many theories either. He can't tell you why he leapt over Tennessee's Michael Griffin at the goal line during the third quarter to score his second touchdown of the day in Pittsburgh's easier than expected 38-17 rout.

Maybe it was instinct. Maybe it was the memory of pulling a similar move over Denver's Champ Bailey a few years ago. Maybe it was the residual effects of all that nifty footwork he displayed while winning "Dancing With the Stars" during the spring.

Ward doesn't know and to be honest, he doesn't care.

"I can't put a finger on what made me do that," Ward said, "but just to do that and to be able to help this team get going, that's all that matters."

That's all that's ever mattered to the 35-year-old Ward, even as his career numbers have reached staggering heights.

The 14-year veteran needs 13 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday to surpass Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin for 19th on the all-time list. He's 108 yards away from becoming just the 18th receiver to reach the 12,000-yard plateau and is 26 catches away from 1,000.

Heady numbers for any receiver, astronomical ones for a player on franchise that has built its foundation — and six Super Bowl championships — on running the ball.

It's an onus that isn't lost on Ward, arguably one of the greatest blocking receivers in history. He's never hesitated to stick his 6-foot, 205-pound frame in the face of a linebacker in hopes of creating a seam for a back. His blue collar work ethic in a decidedly white collar position has endeared him to one of the NFL's most ardent fan bases and made him one of the team's unquestioned leaders.

One who took it upon himself to help the Steelers break out of an early season funk. Ward sat quietly at his locker a week ago after the team fell to 2-2 with a decisive loss at Houston and stressed there was no need to point fingers, adding there was more than enough blame to go around.

He then responded with a vintage performance, grabbing seven passes for 54 yards and his first two score game in two years. His 7.7 yards per reception is deceiving. Six of his seven catches went for first downs or touchdowns, including his balletic dive over Griffin that gave the Steelers a 28-3 lead in the third quarter.

"That's Hines," fellow wide receiver Antonio Brown said. "He's passionate. He's tough. He's a guy you can learn from because he's been doing it at a high level for so long."

Ward has accepted a somewhat diminished role in the offense with typical grace. Third-year speedster Mike Wallace is developing into one of the top deep threats in the game. Brown and Emmanuel Sanders are younger and quicker. Tight end Heath Miller remains a favorite of quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, particularly in the red zone.

Yet with the season at a critical point, Roethlisberger turned to the guy that's been a dutiful security blanket for whoever has been under center since he joined the team in 1998. Kordell Stewart. Tommy Maddox. Mike Tomczak. Charlie Batch. Byron Leftwich. Whenever it's third-and-6 there's been little doubt where the ball is heading.

"I always pride myself on being the guy that Ben and this organization can lean your hat on, to be the dependable guy to go out and make play," Ward said.

Though he knows his window is closing, don't think it's close to being shut.

"I can't change my age, I know I'm 35," Ward said. "That's the story but for me it's just a matter of just staying healthy."

And Ward says he's never felt better. While his teammates sat at home during the NFL lockout wondering when they'd get back to work, Ward was cha-chaing his way to the mirror ball trophy on "Dancing With the Stars."

He's reluctant to say all that two-stepping helped his footwork, but it certainly didn't hurt. The glow of the victory, however, was tarnished by his arrest on a DUI charge in July. He apologized for the distraction but maintains his innocence.

If the arrest is a distraction, it doesn't show. He's on pace to top 60 receptions for the 11th time in his career, something Steeler greats John Stallworth and Lynn Swann combined to do five times, though Ward is quick to point out they have four Super Bowl rings and he has just two.

How many more rings, catches and well-choreographed touchdown dances does Ward have left? He's not sure. Ward is signed through 2013, when he'll be 37. If he stays injury free, he can see himself playing beyond that, though he cautions he won't stick around along as fellow "Dancing With the Stars" alum Jerry Rice, who was catching passes until he was 42.

"I won't play that long, trust me," Ward said. "I take it one year at a time. When I look up and I'm going against a guy that I'm supposed to be getting open against all the time and I'm not, I'll walk away from the game."

flippy
10-13-2011, 11:36 AM
Ward's gonna play til he's 40+.

His game is the same since he got here.

Everyone says he's lost a step, but that's hogwash. He never had a step.

It all comes down to how long he can stay healthy. And if he was gonna get hurt, it would have happened already given the way he throws his body around.

RuthlessBurgher
10-13-2011, 12:25 PM
To quote Tunch Ilkin: "Nobody smells the goal line like Hines Ward."]

It's interesting that Hines needs 13 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday to surpass Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin for 19th on the all-time list, because Irvin was the one name that immediately popped into my mind when it comes to smelling the goal line (probably because his nose is automatically drawn toward any white powder). :wink:

RuthlessBurgher
10-13-2011, 12:33 PM
http://extras.mnginteractive.com/live/media/site36/2009/1110/20091110__20091110_C09_SP10PBXBROSIDE~p1_200.JPG

College teammates with the Georgia Bulldogs in the mid-90's...has there ever been a pair of more versatile athletes on the same team before, with Hines having played WR, RB, and QB at UGa, with Champ carving out various roles for himself on defense, offense, and special teams?

Jigawatts
10-13-2011, 01:43 PM
To quote Tunch Ilkin: "Nobody smells the goal line like Hines Ward."]

It's interesting that Hines needs 13 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday to surpass Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin for 19th on the all-time list, because Irvin was the one name that immediately popped into my mind when it comes to smelling the goal line (probably because his nose is automatically drawn toward any white powder). :wink:

Hey, he was just holding for a friend. :nono :lol:

BradshawsHairdresser
10-13-2011, 11:05 PM
To quote Tunch Ilkin: "Nobody smells the goal line like Hines Ward."]

It's interesting that Hines needs 13 yards against Jacksonville on Sunday to surpass Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin for 19th on the all-time list, because Irvin was the one name that immediately popped into my mind when it comes to smelling the goal line (probably because his nose is automatically drawn toward any white powder). :wink:
:lol: :lol: :lol:

hawaiiansteel
10-14-2011, 01:45 AM
Hines Ward talks retirement, vows not to “do a Brett Favre”

Posted by Michael David Smith on October 13, 2011

http://nbcprofootballtalk.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/hineswardfeb6getty-e1304886458435.jpg?w=250

At age 35, Hines Ward is probably getting close to the end of his career. But Ward says he needs to be sure he’s had his fill of the game before he’s ready to retire.

Ward told Jim Rome that he won’t be the guy who announces his retirement hastily, only to change his mind and try to come back.

“I don’t want to walk away from the game and sit there and say I still miss it,” Ward said. “I don’t want to do a Brett Favre or something. When I walk away I want to be completely walked away from it, say I gave it all I got, I miss being around the guys but I don’t miss the game anymore.”

Prior to the Super Bowl, Ward was talking about retirement, and hinting that he’d love to have a Super Bowl victory as his last NFL game, the way his friend and former teammate Jerome Bettis did. After the Steelers lost to the Packers, Ward is still saying he needs another ring before he’ll quit playing.

“I want one more. I want one more,” Ward told Rome. “To win three Super Bowls, man, only a small few guys can say that. I’ve been blessed to play in three Super Bowls, I’ve won two.”

Ward has been surpassed by Mike Wallace as the Steelers’ No. 1 wide receiver, but he says he still views himself as an important part of the Steelers’ offense, and he doesn’t expect to quit as long as that’s the case.

“I’ll walk away from the game when I know I can’t play anymore,” Ward said. “There’s still a lot of football left in me.”

http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/20 ... ett-favre/ (http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/10/13/hines-ward-talks-retirement-vows-not-to-do-a-brett-favre/)

SteelCrazy
10-15-2011, 08:41 PM
Hines Ward: 'I Won't Play Beyond 2013'

Steelers veteran and captain Hines Ward was on The Jungle on the Jim Rome Show this afternoon. He gave some Hines-like positive sentiment and provided plenty of reasons why SteelerNation has cheered for him harder and longer than perhaps any other player on the roster.

He did admit this contract will be his last. Ward doesn't have any plans to continue playing after his contract expires.

"I won't play beyond (2013, the end of his contract)."

Ward continued, almost nostalgically, about his role on the Steelers currently, and particularly, the fatherly sense of pride he has in the development of the younger Steelers wide receivers, dubbed "Young Money."

Star-divide

"My role's diminished due to the rise of our young guys, and Mike Wallace. My job, when I see those guys making plays, I know I have an effect on that because I'm helping those guys understand the game and (to me) the game has slowed down and they can do less thinking and use their ability to go out there and make plays.

"I'm more like a coach on the field. Some guy may have a question on what route it is, and I'm there to be like, 'look, you've got this and you've got this.'"

As always, Ward provides plenty of reasons for Steelers fans to think highly of him. He summarizes his feelings about the game, even with the self-confessed "diminished" role he now has.

For me, I still love the game, I'm still smiling on the field. I've been hit hard before, and I just get up and I laugh about it, you know, it's football. Until I lose that edge, I'm going to continue playing football.

Don't think for a second he's not hungry, though. When asked what the driving point is in his career, Ward responded very simply:

"I want one more. I want one more. To win three Super Bowls, only a small number of guys have done that. I've been blessed to play in three Super Bowls, I've won two, but I think three is, like, you're the 'don.' You're the 'don' of all football players. You walk in with three rings on, regardless of what people think about you, they can't even say anything about you...I don't want to walk away from the game and sit there and say 'I still miss it.' I don't want to do 'Brett Favre' or something. When I walk away, I want to walk completely away. I want to say I gave it all I got. (I want to say) I miss the guys, but I don't miss the game.'"

It definitely doesn't appear Ward feels he's gotten to the point he's ready to hang it up tomorrow. And he points to his acrobatics in Week 5 as evidence.

"When I'm jumping over guys heads like Michael Griffin, there's still a lot of football left in me. When I line up across from a guy who I think I'm supposed to get open the majority of the time, and you're not going to win every battle, but if I go out there and say 'I should win this battle,' and I'm not winning that battle, I'll walk away."

I'll walk away from the game when I know I can't play anymore, but for me to jump over some guy's head to get in the end zone and help my team to a victory, there's still a lot a bit of football left in me."

http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/20 ... eason-2013 (http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2011/10/13/2488595/hines-ward-last-season-2013)