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hawaiiansteel
12-23-2011, 02:58 PM
On the Steelers: Ward says retirement not in game plan

But his time here is out of his control

Friday, December 23, 2011
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/images/201112/hines1222b_160.jpg

Steelers receiver Hines Ward has no plans to retire quite yet.

Hines Ward has no plans to retire after this season and said if he does not play for the Steelers in 2012 it will not be his choice.

Ward has no special plans to take a moment to relish what could be his final game Saturday at Heinz Field in a dazzling, record-setting 14-year career.

"I have two years left on my contract," Ward said, counting this one. "I'm not even thinking that this is my last one. If the organization decides to, I have no control over that. But, for me, I'm not even thinking this is my last game ever [at Heinz Field].

"I feel fine. I feel like I can play another year or two if I want to."

The actions of the Steelers coaching staff over the past five games make it look as if they are phasing out the most prolific and decorated receiver in franchise history.

Ward lost his 13-year starting job Nov. 13 in Cincinnati when he was demoted to No. 4 or No. 5 receiver, returned to start and play significantly more the next two games, then was buried again on the depth chart the past two games. He caught the only pass thrown his way Dec. 8 against Cleveland and had none come his way Monday in San Francisco.

He needs nine receptions to become only the eighth receiver in NFL history with 1,000. Might he get them elsewhere next season and become the Franco Harris of this generation, released by the only team he ever served to finish up elsewhere?

"I don't know," Ward said. "That hasn't even crossed my mind. If they cut me, it's on them. I don't want to be cut, I don't want to play for another team, but I haven't thought of the possibility of that even happening. It's happened to lot of guys. Franco did it when he was here.

"I don't want to play for anybody else. We'll deal with that when the time comes. Right now, it's not even in my mind to think what happens -- am I going to be here, is this my last game? I don't think like that, I've never thought like that."

Ward has 37 receptions for 325 yards and two touchdowns, on pace to have his lowest production as a starter. He was in the mix and seeing the ball regularly until he missed the Oct. 30 game against New England with an ankle injury. When he returned, his role was diminished. Not only has he been demoted as a starter, but Jerricho Cotchery has taken over his role as a flanker. Cotchery led the team Monday in San Francisco with 93 yards on five catches.

"I'm in my 14th year," Ward noted. "There are still guys in the league playing 15, 16 years -- Tony Gonzalez; Donald Driver is older than me and still playing. Donald Driver and I play the same position. He's still making plays on the team.

"OK, I don't have the same role I used to, but I don't think that's predicated on my play, I just think it's a move that they want to go in a different direction.

"I'm getting open. Maybe the attempts aren't there, but I'm blocking my butt off. I'm still doing basically the same things I've been doing. It's up to the organization. That can go for all of the older guys -- Potsie [James Farrior], myself, Aaron [Smith], it can go for any of these guys."

Ward, 35, said that, despite his demotion, he takes the same approach as always and has the same goals, to win a Super Bowl.

"I still love the game. I'm not going to let me not playing take the fun away. When the fun is away and I hate it, I'll walk away. The passion's still there for me to win Super Bowls, win games. I love competing. It's a different role where I had to adjust, no question about that. But so has James Farrior, he's substituting with Larry Foote. Does it mean we can no longer be part of this organization? It's out of our control."

Unless the Steelers win the AFC North Division, there will be no home playoff games, and Saturday will be the last time they play in Heinz Field this season. It's possible it could be the final time forever for Ward.

"I hope we win the game more than anything," Ward said. "But I'm not going to take pictures and celebrate with the guys. That's not even my demeanor or even the way I think. Whatever happens, happens, but I don't sit there and worry about the future based on what they've been doing.

"You start thinking like that, you just need to get out of the game.

"That word hasn't even crossed my mind, retirement."

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11357/11 ... z1hNgzTU56 (http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11357/1198834-66-0.stm#ixzz1hNgzTU56)

fezziwig
12-23-2011, 03:18 PM
They'll need to carry Hines off the field. That will be his retirement.

Dee Dub
12-23-2011, 04:38 PM
If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

fezziwig
12-23-2011, 05:53 PM
I know speed was never Hine's strength but, after watching Brown I never realized how slow Hines is. I didn't compare Hines to Wallace because I doubt many could hang with him.

The few passes that Hines did catch it was like watching in slow motion.

Hines is and was a great Steeler player and we owe our success to him and he has taken a lesser role without complaining so, I don't see a problem with him on the team.
If we have younger talent that could be in jeopardy of losing by trying to hang on to Hines then, it's time to make a what's best for the team choice at that time.

Shoe
12-23-2011, 07:20 PM
"I have two years left on my contract," Ward said, counting this one. "I'm not even thinking that this is my last one. If the organization decides to, I have no control over that. But, for me, I'm not even thinking this is my last game ever [at Heinz Field].

Does he have this year and another? (two years) Or, does he mean this year, plus two more?

If it's the first case, I would consider letting him stay on... (that is, unless his salary is prohibitive given his output). He's still Hines Ward. If he were to start for us for a whole year (let's say we had no other options besides him and Wallace), I think you'd see a Hines Ward type season albeit it to a lesser extent (e.g. 10-ish YPC, 50-70 catches, 600-800 yards).

That being said, Cotchery is playing well. AB is ballin. Wallace is legit. Sanders is a slight disappointment. Still with talent, but he looks like one of those always nicked, solid #3 kinda guys at best.

Chadman
12-23-2011, 09:36 PM
If the Steelers can afford to keep him- what's the problem wityh him being the #4 or #5 WR on the team- good to insert into the game in clutch situations, or if injury strikes, or even just to pass on knowledge both in training & on game day?

So long as he isn't leeching playing time off guys that deserve it more- he can stay, no problem at all.

After all, the Steelers WR crew are pretty cheap due to their age/rookie contracts so it's not like the Steelers have invested much money into the WR position.

pittpete
12-24-2011, 01:21 PM
If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

Total BS, Derrick Mason had some of his best years as a player at age 34 through 36
Hines IMHO is the same type of player and can still be productive.
Of course this production would come as a number 3 or 4 reciever and at a lesser salary.
Bet $$$$ Hines will b here next year my friends

rpmpit
12-26-2011, 06:01 PM
Hope Hines will do what Bettis did and take less $ for a shot at another SB. Think about how many teams would just love to have him if we let him go. Ravens would sign him in a second just to mess with us. Can you imagine????? :(

flippy
12-26-2011, 07:25 PM
If we let Hines go, I bet he'll be snagging 80 balls a year from Tom Brady next year.

No way is Hines done imho.

He doesn't need speed. Never had it. He's still the same receiver.

On that note, no way should he be on the field ahead of Wallace, Brown, Sanders, Heath, Cotchery, or even Saunders for that matter. We've got a fantastic young core. And if Hines will take a back seat and help provide leadership and step in for some redzone plays and to give guys breathers or help out when someone's injured - great.

But if not, no reason we shouldn't release him and allow him to play. The only bad thing is I think he can be productive until 40+. And I bet 31 others teams would love to have him.

steelz09
12-28-2011, 10:30 AM
I would love to see the same receiving corp return next year including Ward.

Ward knows his career is winding down and I think he's shown outstanding professionalism in accepting that new role. I sure hope he (like Bettis) realizes that returning next year will involve a paycut.

Likewise, I always got the sense that it was primarily Ward and Farrior that led the "Let's win a SB for the Bus" campaign. Who on this team will lead that effort for Ward and Farrior?

phillyesq
12-28-2011, 11:23 AM
If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

Why? He can still find a soft spot in a zone and mentor the younger receivers. He clearly isn't the player he used to be but he still has value in spot duty.

He needs to take a pay cut next season, but if he does, I'd love to see him back for one more year.

The only way I'd root for Ward to retire is for him to walk off the field as a champion at the conclusion of this year.

Oviedo
12-28-2011, 11:54 AM
Hines is still an asset to this team. He is a leader and like having an additional coach for the young WRs. Manny Sanders is still an unknown and may never get past his injury issues.

I want to to have Hines back next year at a reduced cap hit. I also think they should try to resign Cotchery because he has great value. Get rid of Arnez Battle as soon as we can.

fezziwig
12-28-2011, 12:00 PM
Hines is still an asset to this team. He is a leader and like having an additional coach for the young WRs. Manny Sanders is still an unknown and may never get past his injury issues.

I want to to have Hines back next year at a reduced cap hit. I also think they should try to resign Cotchery because he has great value. Get rid of Arnez Battle as soon as we can.


:Clap

phillyesq
12-28-2011, 12:15 PM
Hines is still an asset to this team. He is a leader and like having an additional coach for the young WRs. Manny Sanders is still an unknown and may never get past his injury issues.

I want to to have Hines back next year at a reduced cap hit. I also think they should try to resign Cotchery because he has great value. Get rid of Arnez Battle as soon as we can.

This is rare, but :Agree

Dee Dub
12-28-2011, 01:24 PM
If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

Why? He can still find a soft spot in a zone and mentor the younger receivers. He clearly isn't the player he used to be but he still has value in spot duty.

He needs to take a pay cut next season, but if he does, I'd love to see him back for one more year.

The only way I'd root for Ward to retire is for him to walk off the field as a champion at the conclusion of this year.

Why? Very simple. Look at his contract. You wanna pay him the money he is to get next year to be the #4 or 5 receiver? He isnt going to take less if he comes back.

Hines is scheduled to make $4 million dollars next year? You dont think it would be in the best interests of this team to use that money elsewhere?

I do.

Dee Dub
12-28-2011, 01:27 PM
If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

Total BS, Derrick Mason had some of his best years as a player at age 34 through 36
Hines IMHO is the same type of player and can still be productive.
Of course this production would come as a number 3 or 4 reciever and at a lesser salary.
Bet $$$$ Hines will b here next year my friends

Hines Ward is not going to re-work his contract and come back for less next year. $4 million dollars could go a long way towards helping this team in the off-season.

Shawn
12-28-2011, 02:52 PM
While there is something to be said about having veteran presence, Ward's days of being a good WR are gone. If I had to venture a guess his 40 is probably right around a 4.7. He is sluggish coming out of routes and his hands for whatever reason have been going down hill for a couple years now. Then factor in the fact that he is taking the 5th WR slot away from a young and up and comer...and the choice becomes clear. This is a business and the smart business decision is to cut Ward.

phillyesq
12-28-2011, 03:02 PM
[quote="Dee Dub":3gkk6gj6]If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

Why? He can still find a soft spot in a zone and mentor the younger receivers. He clearly isn't the player he used to be but he still has value in spot duty.

He needs to take a pay cut next season, but if he does, I'd love to see him back for one more year.

The only way I'd root for Ward to retire is for him to walk off the field as a champion at the conclusion of this year.

Why? Very simple. Look at his contract. You wanna pay him the money he is to get next year to be the #4 or 5 receiver? He isnt going to take less if he comes back.

Hines is scheduled to make $4 million dollars next year? You dont think it would be in the best interests of this team to use that money elsewhere?

I do.[/quote:3gkk6gj6]

This is based on speculation, not fact. If you had read my post, you would note that I said he needs to take a pay cut.

Dee Dub
12-28-2011, 03:36 PM
[quote="Dee Dub":34p8pgt6]If Hines wants to do what is best for the team he should retire.

Why? He can still find a soft spot in a zone and mentor the younger receivers. He clearly isn't the player he used to be but he still has value in spot duty.

He needs to take a pay cut next season, but if he does, I'd love to see him back for one more year.

The only way I'd root for Ward to retire is for him to walk off the field as a champion at the conclusion of this year.

Why? Very simple. Look at his contract. You wanna pay him the money he is to get next year to be the #4 or 5 receiver? He isnt going to take less if he comes back.

Hines is scheduled to make $4 million dollars next year? You dont think it would be in the best interests of this team to use that money elsewhere?

I do.

This is based on speculation, not fact. If you had read my post, you would not that I said he needs to take a pay cut.[/quote:34p8pgt6]


You are right it is is speculation on my part..however..a player who points out that he has two years left on his contract and has no intention on retiring is more than likely not interested in taking a pay cut.

RuthlessBurgher
12-29-2011, 02:39 PM
I always got the sense that it was primarily Ward and Farrior that led the "Let's win a SB for the Bus" campaign. Who on this team will lead that effort for Ward and Farrior?

I believe that was mostly Joey Porter's doing.

I'd imagine that the young WR's Wallace/Brown/Sanders would lead the cause for "Win one more for Ward" campaign.

flippy
12-29-2011, 02:58 PM
Maybe Rooney and Tomlin can lead that charge. Win one for all the old guys so they retire and free up some money for young guys.

hawaiiansteel
01-01-2012, 02:26 PM
Don't bet against Ward's return in 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012
By Ed Bouchette, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hines Ward is due $4 million in salary next season and if he plays here in 2012, he surely would return for an agreed-to Jerome Bettis-like reduction in pay and a reduced role in the offense, the latter which has already occurred.

This is a team that saved a roster spot through the Super Bowl for Aaron Smith last season rather than put him on injured reserve after his arm injury ended his season Oct. 24, 2010. They also brought Smith back this season. Plus, they'll have plenty of room for Ward after the Young Money trio on their receiving corps in 2012.

Jerricho Cotchery has to feel he can make more money and more receptions elsewhere rather than play as No. 4 here, and he will be an unrestricted free agent. That leaves ... no one, other than Ward and maybe practice squad player Tyler Grisham.

So if Ward does not catch those five passes today in Cleveland to become only the eighth receiver in NFL history to hit 1,000, he should get it next season.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/12001/1200579-66-0.stm

fordfixer
01-01-2012, 02:30 PM
Good stuff hawaiian thanks for posting

hawaiiansteel
01-01-2012, 09:49 PM
congratulations to Hines Ward who reached 1,000 career receptions in today's game, one of only 8 players to ever do it (the others are Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens, Tony Gonzalez) :Clap

that's a pretty select company Hines is keeping... :tt2 :tt2

Northern_Blitz
01-01-2012, 10:04 PM
congratulations to Hines Ward who reached 1,000 career receptions in today's game, one of only 8 players to ever do it (the others are Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Isaac Bruce, Terrell Owens, Tony Gonzalez) :Clap

that's a pretty select company Hines is keeping... :tt2 :tt2

And I think he and Rice are the only ones with multiple SB rings.

Congrats Hines! :Clap

hawaiiansteel
01-04-2012, 02:08 AM
Post-Cleveland thoughts Part II

by Dale Lolley


I'm really glad Hines Ward got his 1,000th catch. He's always been a good guy to talk to and has worked hard.

But I'm also glad it's over. Now, the Steelers can just play Jerricho Cotchery, who is a better receiving threat at this point in their respective careers.

It is a shame, though, that Ward's milestone catch came on a three-yard loss on a shovel pass.

He had a couple of big catches in this game, but his final stat line read five catches, 24 yards.

http://www.observer-reporter.com/or/sidelines/

fezziwig
01-04-2012, 01:41 PM
Good post Hawain. I'm glad Hines did it against a divisional rival. I remember when the Browns fans were giving Hines a load of it and when he caught his TD afterwards, Hines kicked the turf of the Browns stadium off his shoes. I thought that was funny.
So I'm sure Hines not being liked by Cleveland and the Ravens that, it had to eat at the Browns fans with Hines setting a record on their field.