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hawaiiansteel
03-13-2015, 01:50 PM
Ward hopes Steelers can work things out with Polamalu

March 13, 2015
Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/image/2013/10/17/ca28,0,382,236/Don-t-touch-that-hair.jpg

In this September 2010 photo, Hines Ward jokingly makes cutting motions around Troy Polamalu's hair. A few days prior Head & Shoulders, for which Polamalu is a spokesman, had insured his hair for $1 million.

If anyone knows what Troy Polamalu might be going through as he determines whether to retire or play in 2015, perhaps for someone other than the Steelers, it is Hines Ward.

“They tell you when you come into the league, play as long as you can,’’ Ward said Thursday from his home in Atlanta. “I would hate to see Troy in another uniform. I just think some way, some how, they can figure out something to work things out.”

The Steelers never gave Ward that chance, never gave him the kind of time they are allowing Polamalu to come to terms that his career might be over. What became Black and Old Friday occurred March 2, 2012, when the Steelers released three of their most iconic veterans — Ward, Aaron Smith and James Farrior.

Ward did not want to go, seemingly how Polamalu feels now. Ward was the team’s all-time leading receiver, Super Bowl MVP, four-time Pro Bowler and member of the exclusive NFL clubs of those who achieved 1,000 receptions and 10,000 receiving yards.

He wanted to play one more season. He was about to turn 36 and had played more than half of the 2011 season on an ankle so torn apart in the seventh game that he needed surgery to repair every one of its ligaments after the season. He kept playing, but was never the same. Then, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert called him into a meeting.

“I had a meeting with Tomlin and Colbert and the Rooneys about my future with the Steelers,’’ Ward said, echoing the same kind of words Colbert issued this week about Polamalu and the team’s talks about his “future.’’

They told him he was finished with the Steelers, no longer wanted, and it was probably time to hang it up.

“I was a little disappointed at first,’’ Ward said. “There was nothing to say, they said I couldn’t play anymore — because I was out there 50 percent on a messed-up ankle because I ripped every ligament in my ankle.”

Ward used the word “blindsided” Thursday to describe how he felt back then. After all he had done, this was to be it?

“I asked for a paycut, whatever the minimum was,” he said. “I just wanted to stay on the team and be a leader to Antonio [Brown], Mike [Wallace] and Emmanuel [Sanders] and just be the fourth guy. But they didn’t have anything for me. It was disappointing.’’

Ward allowed himself to be cut rather than retire. He thought of playing elsewhere, but 18 days after he was cut, he held an emotional retirement ceremony at the Steelers facility.

“I just didn’t think I needed to go to another organization to try to prove my worth,” he said. “I got everything I wanted out of football. I went to three Super Bowls, we won two, I was Super Bowl MVP, I had four Pro Bowls and played 14 years.

“There were some hard feelings at first, but I look back and it was a blessing. What was I chasing? Do I go to another team and go below .500 — that wasn’t how I wanted to end my career.

“I looked back at Franco [Harris] and some of the other guys, it would feel weird putting on another uniform. I don’t think I could have given that effort in another uniform that I did in my Steelers uniform. That’s when I knew it was time to leave.”

Ward made a smooth transition to television, working Sunday night NFL games as a studio host for NBC, where he also works Notre Dame football games. That does not mean he will give any career advice to Polamalu, who stays in touch with Ward and wished him a happy 39th birthday Sunday.

“For Troy, he’s 33, 34 [on April 19], he’s dealt with injuries and stuff, but who am I to tell a man to retire?” Ward said. “I just spoke with Troy last week. He was training and preparing to play football. I don’t know about the retirement aspect. It’s an unfortunate situation, but as you get older, you have to look at the business aspect of it.”

Polamalu has two years left on his Steelers contract that is scheduled to pay him a $6 million salary in 2015. Although the Steelers have been hoping he would retire and not have to cut him, it might come to that.

Ward thinks there is another way, the kind of path the team and Jerome Bettis followed in 2005. The Bus took a paycut and a reduced role to play one more season, a storybook ending with the Steelers winning the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit.

“You have to look at what Troy has meant,” Ward said. “What can he do? Can he provide something for the team — leadership, maybe a lesser role for lesser pay? You can always find ways.”

Ward believes Polamalu could bring something to the 2015 Steelers that Bettis brought 10 years earlier in his final season, when his teammates rallied around him to win a Super Bowl.

“That’s what I think Troy can bring, be a coach to the younger guys, play a role,’’ Ward said. “He’s 33, 34; I’ve seen guys play 35, 36, but with Troy and the injuries, I understand where the Steelers are coming from. I just think there has to be some way.”

And if there is not, and the Steelers release him and Polamalu plays elsewhere in 2015?

“I’m sure there would be interest from other teams,” Ward said. “It’s the business aspect. You can’t fault the Steelers, you can’t fault Troy either. If he wants to play, let him play; who are we to tell him to retire if he still has a passion for it?

“With Troy’s past and his ability, he still can provide something for somebody out there. I would love to see it be with the Steelers. I’d be crushed to see ‘43’ in something other than black and gold. But if he decides to keep playing and they decide to go somewhere else, he’s always going to be a Steeler for life, in my opinion.”

http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2015/03/13/Ward-hopes-Steelers-can-work-things-out-with-Polamalu/stories/201503130183

SanAntonioSteelerFan
03-13-2015, 09:48 PM
Ward hopes Steelers can work things out with Polamalu March 13, 2015 Ed Bouchette / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette http://www.post-gazette.com/image/2013/10/17/ca28,0,382,236/Don-t-touch-that-hair.jpg In this September 2010 photo, Hines Ward jokingly makes cutting motions around Troy Polamalu's hair. A few days prior Head & Shoulders, for which Polamalu is a spokesman, had insured his hair for $1 million. If anyone knows what Troy Polamalu might be going through as he determines whether to retire or play in 2015, perhaps for someone other than the Steelers, it is Hines Ward. “They tell you when you come into the league, play as long as you can,’’ Ward said Thursday from his home in Atlanta. “I would hate to see Troy in another uniform. I just think some way, some how, they can figure out something to work things out.” The Steelers never gave Ward that chance, never gave him the kind of time they are allowing Polamalu to come to terms that his career might be over. What became Black and Old Friday occurred March 2, 2012, when the Steelers released three of their most iconic veterans — Ward, Aaron Smith and James Farrior. Ward did not want to go, seemingly how Polamalu feels now. Ward was the team’s all-time leading receiver, Super Bowl MVP, four-time Pro Bowler and member of the exclusive NFL clubs of those who achieved 1,000 receptions and 10,000 receiving yards. He wanted to play one more season. He was about to turn 36 and had played more than half of the 2011 season on an ankle so torn apart in the seventh game that he needed surgery to repair every one of its ligaments after the season. He kept playing, but was never the same. Then, Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert called him into a meeting. “I had a meeting with Tomlin and Colbert and the Rooneys about my future with the Steelers,’’ Ward said, echoing the same kind of words Colbert issued this week about Polamalu and the team’s talks about his “future.’’ They told him he was finished with the Steelers, no longer wanted, and it was probably time to hang it up. “I was a little disappointed at first,’’ Ward said. “There was nothing to say, they said I couldn’t play anymore — because I was out there 50 percent on a messed-up ankle because I ripped every ligament in my ankle.” Ward used the word “blindsided” Thursday to describe how he felt back then. After all he had done, this was to be it? “I asked for a paycut, whatever the minimum was,” he said. “I just wanted to stay on the team and be a leader to Antonio [Brown], Mike [Wallace] and Emmanuel [Sanders] and just be the fourth guy. But they didn’t have anything for me. It was disappointing.’’ Ward allowed himself to be cut rather than retire. He thought of playing elsewhere, but 18 days after he was cut, he held an emotional retirement ceremony at the Steelers facility. “I just didn’t think I needed to go to another organization to try to prove my worth,” he said. “I got everything I wanted out of football. I went to three Super Bowls, we won two, I was Super Bowl MVP, I had four Pro Bowls and played 14 years. “There were some hard feelings at first, but I look back and it was a blessing. What was I chasing? Do I go to another team and go below .500 — that wasn’t how I wanted to end my career. “I looked back at Franco [Harris] and some of the other guys, it would feel weird putting on another uniform. I don’t think I could have given that effort in another uniform that I did in my Steelers uniform. That’s when I knew it was time to leave.” Ward made a smooth transition to television, working Sunday night NFL games as a studio host for NBC, where he also works Notre Dame football games. That does not mean he will give any career advice to Polamalu, who stays in touch with Ward and wished him a happy 39th birthday Sunday. “For Troy, he’s 33, 34 [on April 19], he’s dealt with injuries and stuff, but who am I to tell a man to retire?” Ward said. “I just spoke with Troy last week. He was training and preparing to play football. I don’t know about the retirement aspect. It’s an unfortunate situation, but as you get older, you have to look at the business aspect of it.” Polamalu has two years left on his Steelers contract that is scheduled to pay him a $6 million salary in 2015. Although the Steelers have been hoping he would retire and not have to cut him, it might come to that. Ward thinks there is another way, the kind of path the team and Jerome Bettis followed in 2005. The Bus took a paycut and a reduced role to play one more season, a storybook ending with the Steelers winning the Super Bowl in his hometown of Detroit. “You have to look at what Troy has meant,” Ward said. “What can he do? Can he provide something for the team — leadership, maybe a lesser role for lesser pay? You can always find ways.” Ward believes Polamalu could bring something to the 2015 Steelers that Bettis brought 10 years earlier in his final season, when his teammates rallied around him to win a Super Bowl. “That’s what I think Troy can bring, be a coach to the younger guys, play a role,’’ Ward said. “He’s 33, 34; I’ve seen guys play 35, 36, but with Troy and the injuries, I understand where the Steelers are coming from. I just think there has to be some way.” And if there is not, and the Steelers release him and Polamalu plays elsewhere in 2015? “I’m sure there would be interest from other teams,” Ward said. “It’s the business aspect. You can’t fault the Steelers, you can’t fault Troy either. If he wants to play, let him play; who are we to tell him to retire if he still has a passion for it? “With Troy’s past and his ability, he still can provide something for somebody out there. I would love to see it be with the Steelers. I’d be crushed to see ‘43’ in something other than black and gold. But if he decides to keep playing and they decide to go somewhere else, he’s always going to be a Steeler for life, in my opinion.” http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/steelers/2015/03/13/Ward-hopes-Steelers-can-work-things-out-with-Polamalu/stories/201503130183 I love Troy, my son has his Jersey ... but man, I think we lose games because of him on the field, they were just tearing us apart in the last year or two. In my mind's eye, Troy of the last year or two: pile late diving on, getting burned because he's out of position, and finally the few times he stayed disciplined and played a standard assignment, not making much of a difference in the play. At one time he had the incredible athleticism to play all over the field, and enough experience with his partners that they could read his mind and shift/compensate. Neither of those things will be true next year. Instead of cutting him, they should give him some kind of assistant coach position. We need his glory in the defensive locker room!

B&GinNC
03-14-2015, 03:19 PM
I love Troy, my son has his Jersey ... but man, I think we lose games because of him on the field, they were just tearing us apart in the last year or two. In my mind's eye, Troy of the last year or two: pile late diving on, getting burned because he's out of position, and finally the few times he stayed disciplined and played a standard assignment, not making much of a difference in the play. At one time he had the incredible athleticism to play all over the field, and enough experience with his partners that they could read his mind and shift/compensate. Neither of those things will be true next year. Instead of cutting him, they should give him some kind of assistant coach position. We need his glory in the defensive locker room!

Totally agreed. Top use a baseball analogy, a pitcher who has a blazing fastball in his 20's will lose some velocity in his 30's. The guys who stick around and have the longest careers are the ones who adjust and develop secondary stuff to get outs. Troy is the NFL equivalent of a one pitch pitcher. Now that he doesn't have that pitch anymore, he's a liability.