Tag Archives: retiring
Linebacker Tavares Gooden has spent five years in the NFL with the Ravens and 49ers and it seemed Friday afternoon that the free agent wasn’t interested in playing a sixth season. Gooden visited with the Cardinals and Steelers in recent days, but went on Twitter Friday to announce that he thinks “it’s time for me…
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Joey Porter told Ian Rapoport of NFL.com today that he intends on retiring this year as a member of the Steelers after 13 years in the league.
“I plan on retiring this year,” Porter told Rapoport today on the driving range before a practice round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Classic in South Lake...
Source: Yardbarker: Pittsburgh Steelers
A move that probably was the right thing in the long run, Hines Ward today announced he is retiring from the NFL.
“I am truly blessed. I have accomplished all I have set out for and more,” Ward said.
“There’s only one thing I love more than the game and that’s Steeler Nation,” Ward said, as tears came to his eyes. “It is truly amazing.
“You guys mean the world to me. This city and this organization mean the world to me. Today I came back to Pittsburgh to grant Steelers Nation one last request, so today I am officially retiring as a Pittsburgh Steeler.”
“I don’t want to play in any other uniform. Black and gold runs deep in me, and I will remain a Steeler for life.”
Ward was scheduled to make $ 4 million in 2012. He was released by the Steelers earlier this offseason after a lot of back and forth about playing and wanting to stay with the Steelers.
The 14-year veteran receiver is coming off a season in which he finished with 46 receptions for 381 yards and two touchdowns, the lowest totals in each category since he was a rookie in 1998.
The 36-year-old Ward became the eighth player in league history to reach 1,000 career receptions in the regular-season finale against Cleveland. He and Jerry Rice are the only players in league history to reach 1,000 receptions and win multiple Super Bowls.
Ward’s role within the offense went downhill in hurry as Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders passed him on the depth chart and Mike Wallace became a Pro Bowler.
It’s a tough move for Ward, but the right move, and instead of forcing his way onto another roster, he did it the right way by saying good-bye as a Steeler.
Source: Steelers Gab
I had half-jokingly engaged in an argument with a friend of mine via email about the Vikings signing former Steelers WR Hines Ward. Why not, I contended (always a strong point). The Vikings have no receivers outside Harvin anyway, why wouldn't they value a 14-year veteran with two rings?
He was adamantly against the signing of the guy he knew I idolized since the day we met in college.
He greeted me via email Tuesday with a simple one-liner: "Are we (the Vikings) supposed to sign a guy who's planning to retire?"
The argument took place a while ago, and I wasn't sure who he was talking about (I've taunted him with all kinds of options, including signing WR Mike Wallace and giving up the No. 3 overall pick). I asked him simply "who?"
It didn't dawn on me he was talking about Ward. He responded, "your hero."
I rushed outside, being the office I'm working in does not allow Internet or cell phone usage, and scrambled around to find someone who could write the story at noon ET (thank you, Rebecca).
The office sits in a converted strip mall, and while there aren't any restaurants or stores, they kept the building-wide sound system going, so you heard music all day in the common area. Until last week, it was always country music, but they recently switched over to Oldies.
I was walking back to my side of the building, when I heard the beginning strains of "Sleepwalk" by Santo & John, the beautifully somber instrumental played at the end of the movie "La Bamba" (here's a link).
It's the kind of song no one can hear and not think nostalgically, if not sadly, about something. Or, it was absolutely the last thing I wanted to hear at that particular moment.
The song used to make me think of the ending of La Bamba, just as the radio announcer tells a nation Ritchie Valens, Chubby Checker and the Big Bopper had died in a plane crash. Despite being recorded in 1959, it will now forever remind me of where I was when I felt as old as I ever have.
Not that I (or everyone else in SteelerNation) didn't already go through this when Ward was released. Tuesday was different. It confirmed the Steelers were correct in their assessment. As comforting as a kick to the stomach, Ward confirmed for himself the lack of interest on the open market. It wasn't just the Steelers who didn't want him; no one wanted him.
I'm happy he was able to retire a Steeler. That's the Steelers fan in me. The young college kid in me who excitedly bought a Hines Ward jersey in 2000, wanting to be unique and stand out, wanted to see Ward play another season. That version of me wanted to see him roll back the clock, grab another 65 passes for a younger team on the rise, needing veteran leadership.
I wasn't ready to let Ward go. I didn't want to accept mortality. Without a doubt, no one could complain about a 14-year run in the NFL, particularly a third-round draft pick who'd been hearing about how old he is for the last seven of those 14 years.
Ward is the first, and only, Steeler of the post-Steel Curtain Generation to retire having spent 14 years with the club. His release and retirement will both be etched in the memories of all Steelers fans forever.
It was Jeff Hartings taking over for Dermontti Dawson. It was Dan Kreider replacing Tim Lester. It was Willie Parker taking over for Jerome Bettis. James Harrison replacing Joey Porter. Bill Cowher moving aside and replaced by Mike Tomlin. Add those five together, multiply it by 10, that's Ward's retirement. In fact, the only only who can touch it right now is NT Casey Hampton, who will most likely be in this position next year.
As the song played, and I blinked off tears while staring mindlessly at my phone, reality really set in. I thought it had before, but I was looking forward to watching him crack heads with someone else. I wanted to see his farewell tour, I didn't care who it was with.
That won't happen, though. No more 86 anywhere in the league. No more wide smile. No more tussles with opposing defensive backs. As the sun sets on this Steelers generation, we see the value of the one that came before it, and the bar gets set for the one replacing it.
I flashed to the 2005 AFC Divisional Playoff game at Indianapolis. Ward snares a lofted pass from Roethlisberger outside the right hash. Ward lifts his feet off the ground as he always did when catching a pass, frog legs wider than his shoulders, and battled two defensive backs en route to another 15 yards after the catch. He drew a facemask penalty in the process. They showed the replay, and not only was Ward just as guilty as the offender was of facemasking, but you could see the bright smile on his face the entire time he was doing it.
It was as if he was playing a backyard game with his friends. It amused him greatly to make huge catches in huge games.
Thinking of it that way helped me come to acceptance. It used to be Plaxico Burress and Ward taking over as the sun set on Charles Johnson and Bobby Shaw. Now, it's Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown taking the symbolic torch. Just like Ben Roethlisberger taking the proverbial torch from stop-gap option Tommy Maddox and inconsistent Kordell Stewart, the Steelers will have a new pair of inside linebackers probably in each of the next two seasons.
The future's always bright in SteelerNation. It's proverbially sunny and 75 degrees with nary a cloud in the sky.
"Sleepwalk" is only about two and a half minutes long. Perhaps it's so short to prevent listeners from reveling in the past as much as the melody forces them to. It cuts off far too early to encapsulate every memory I have of Hines Ward. It was time to go back to work. It was time to again face reality.
The song was Hines Ward's career. Something deeply satisfying, and while I wished it could last forever, it had to end. The next song had to start.
I'm just fortunate enough to have been walking through the mall when it began, and I got to listen to it all the way through until it was over.
Now, I'm ready for the next song.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
We didn't see him in Hawaii in those annoying red AFC Pro Bowl jerseys. We didn't even see his name on the draft tracker on ESPN back in 2001, when the Steelers signed him as an undrafted free agent out of BYU.
We did see him on two Super Bowl championship roster, and three AFC Championship roster. We saw him more-than-adequately back-up Steelers legend Casey Hampton his entire career, and in 18 starts, Hoke's Steelers won an eye-popping 17 of them.
It's a stat unlikely to be challenged, mostly because few would bother to farm through historic records to find a comparable player. But that's why the stat is so important; it fits Hoke even better than his facial hair.
Understated, unheralded but completely in control of his craft.
When the Steelers announced Hoke, 35, would undergo season-ending neck surgery, Steel City Insider's Jim Wexell penned an excellent piece on second-year NT Steve McLendon's reaction to Hoke's retirement. Anything that may have been considered unheralded about Hoke was washed away with McLendon's nearly teary-eyed description of the kind of leader and teacher Hoke is.
We don't see what's happening on the sidelines during games. We didn't see Hoke shouting out what he sees, or helping defensive line coach Johnny Mitchell make in-game adjustments. We saw him go in and help the league's best defensive team over the last 10 years when it needed him but we weren't exposed to his true value.
That value is simple; teams do not win without guys like Chris Hoke. It's not the talent of your superstars, but the character of the players on your bench that bring championships. Veteran leadership and savvy cannot be understated, although we always want the next big thing.
The legacy of this defensive line over the last 10 years will be as rich and storied as the Steel Curtain before it, and Hoke is as big a part of it as Hampton, Aaron Smith or Brett Keisel. Fans will always remember 98, 91 and 99, and perhaps less fans will remember 76.
But if there's ever a reunion of the Steelers Super Bowl teams of the new millennium, and all those guys are hanging around meeting with people, with all due respect to the starters, I'm heading straight for Chris Hoke, and I'm asking to shake his hand.
Because he's the one who did the most that no one saw, and I want him to know some people recognize those characteristics as defining points of a champion.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
The Steelers will have a new offensive coordinator in 2012, as Mike Tomlin said today that offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is retiring from coaching.
The 57-year-old Arians joined the Steelers as the wide receivers coach in 2004 and was promoted to offensive coordinator in 2007.
Tomlin announced the move in a statement Friday, lauding Arians for “helping lead our offense to new heights.”
Arians entered the NFL as a running backs coach for the Kansas City Chiefs in 1989 and served as Peyton Manning’s first quarterback coach. His NFL resume also includes stints with the New Orleans Saints and Cleveland Browns.
Leave your comments below with who you want the Steelers to hire as a new OC for the team moving forward.
Source: Steelers Gab
Hines Ward Refutes Retirement Speculation: “Let me set the record straight: I have no plans on retiring right now.”
That didn't take long. Not one day had passed since the Pittsburgh Steelers bowed out of the 2011 NFL Playoffs with their shocking 29-23 OT loss to the Denver Broncos that the media hit the ground running with rampant speculation about the pending retirement of Hines Ward. Well, hold the phone according to none other than Ward himself. Writing on his Facebook page late Monday afternoon, Ward had the following to say about his retirement plans....or lack thereof:
I'm also getting lots of questions about retirement so let me set the record straight: I have no plans on retiring right now. I want to win another Superbowl. I don't know where the media is getting this info from but rest assured that when I decide to retire, you'll hear it from ME first. - HINES
Ward began his post by expressing disappointment and apologies to Steeler Nation for the way the Steelers performed in Sunday afternoon's loss to Denver. All class, as usual, from the future Hall of Famer.
We'll speculate about Ward's future with the Steelers, and whether or not the unthinkable of him finishing his career elsewhere is in the cards, but for now, let's just start every conversation about No. 86 under the assumption that he will not in fact be hanging it up after 14 wildly successful seasons with the black-and-gold.
Source: Behind the Steel Curtain
Last year there was talk late in the season that Steelers receiver Hines Ward might be thinking of calling it quits. Ward decided to come back for 2011, but this year he’s been largely phased out of the Pittsburgh passing game. So does that mean he’s thinking that Saturday could be his final game at…