Longtime Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward retired on Tuesday rather than try extending his career with another team. The decision comes three weeks after Ward was released by the Steelers in a salary cap maneuver. The 36-year-old Ward is the franchise's all-time leader in every major receiving category, including receptions, yards and touchdowns. Ward said following his release he believed he "still had some football in him," but changed his mind.|||||||
Ward was the Most Valuable Player of the 2006 Super Bowl after catching five passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in Pittsburgh's 21-10 victory over Seattle. The four-time Pro Bowler saw his playing time decrease last season behind Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. Ward finished with just 46 receptions, the fewest since his rookie year in 1998.
The Steelers will release wide receiver Hines Ward. A four-time Pro Bowl selection, who holds franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, Ward, 35, has spent all of his 14 NFL seasons with Pittsburgh.|||||||
Ward was the MVP of Super Bowl in 2006 after leading the Steelers to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He posted a game-high 123 receiving yards on five receptions with one touchdown.
Ward wants to retire with the Pittsburgh Steelers, offering to restructure his contract to do it. Ward posted on his Facebook page Saturday that he's already told the Steelers he's willing to work with them on altering his deal so he can remain with the team. Ward's comments came after NFL.com reported the Steelers are planning to cut the franchise's all-time leading receiver.|||||||
The 14-year veteran is scheduled to make $4 million in 2012. He's 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.
Ward has become the eighth player in NFL history with 1,000 career receptions.|||||||
Ward caught a shovel pass in the fourth quarter from quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and although it lost three yards, it made him the first Pittsburgh receiver to reach the milestone. Ward and Hall of Famer Jerry Rice are the only players with 1,000 receptions and more than one Super Bowl win. After the catch, Ward came to the sideline, was embraced by his teammates and saluted by thousands of Pittsburgh fans.
Ward did not practice again on Friday due to a sprained ankle and is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the New England Patriots.|||||||
Emmanuel Sanders indicated he expects to start Sunday in place of Ward, who has not practiced all week. Sanders has one official career start - the season finale last season, but only because Pittsburgh opened in a three-receiver set. Ward has not missed a game since 2007 - although last November he was knocked out of a game against the Patriots early due to a concussion. That ended a club record streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception.