Blog Entry

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Posted on: February 29, 2012 5:38 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 8:06 pm
Hines Ward was Super Bowl XL MVP and the face of the Steelers  for more than a decade. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

After 14 seasons, 1,000 receptions and 85 touchdowns, Hines Ward's tenure in Pittsburgh is all but over. It was once a matter of if, now it's when, and team president Art Rooney II provided those details Wednesday.

“We had a conversation today with Hines Ward and informed him that we plan to release him of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year,” Rooney told the team’s website.

“Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998 and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve. He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years. Hines’ accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Ward released a statement of his own (via NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano):

"This isn't how I wanted this chapter of my career to end. I did everything in my power to remain a Steeler and finish what I started here 14 years ago," he said. "I want to thank the organization, my teammates and coaches and everyone who made my run as a Steeler the best years of my life. To Mr. Rooney, thank you for allowing me to play for one of the greatest organizations in the world. To my fans and in particular, Steeler Nation, thank you for your support and all the great memories. I gave my heart and soul for you every down and I will always bleed black and gold. I do feel that I still have more football left in me and I am looking forward to playing in the NFL, again, this upcoming season."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Gerry Dulac tweeted Wednesday that the organization felt that Ward had nothing left.

Decision to release 86 was not about money. He could've offered to play for free and wouldn't matter. Coaches feel he can't play anymore.
2/29/12 7:12 PM

Ward would have been Sunday inactive if Steelers kept him. They didn't want him taking a roster spot at expense of developing young player.
2/29/12 7:14 PM

The 2011 season was Ward's worst since his rookie campaign; he lost his starting job to second-year standout Antonio Brown and managed just 46 catches for 381 yards (and a career-worst 8.3 YPC average), and two touchdowns. Part of Ward's decline can be blamed on age (he's 35), but he also suffered a severely sprained ankle in Week 4's loss to the Texans.

Whatever the explanation, the Steelers are ready to move on without him, which means that the 2012 offense will feature quarterback Ben Roethlisberger throwing to Brown, Emmanuel Sanders and Mike Wallace -- assuming the team extends his contract (he won't be franchised, at least to hear general manager Kevin Colbert at last week's combine). The three wideouts, none older than 25, constitute one of the league's most dynamic receiver corps, which should make new offensive coordinator Todd Haley's job a lot easier.

Ward, meanwhile, thinks he has a few years left. It just won't be in Pittsburgh -- unless the team re-signs him later this the summer, perhaps an option given that there are currently three wide receivers on the roster. More likely: the Steelers make a run at Jerricho Cotchery, who they signed to a one-year deal before the 2011 season to be the No. 5 wideout. By December, he had also surpassed Ward on the depth chart and proved to be a capable underneath target and a willing blocker.

While the Steelers continue their free agency and draft preparations, and Ward contemplates his NFL future, the conversation will inevitably turn to the latter's Hall of Fame credentials. In our minds, he's a lock. Then again, we don't have a vote.

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Since: Oct 7, 2006
Posted on: March 2, 2012 8:49 am

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Agreed soxcelts that last season he was certainly irrelavant. However, if you are saying that he was overrated for his entire carreer, then you you have no knowledge of the sport whatsoever. You may not like or respect him, but you can still recognize that in his day he was one of the premier receivers in the league. I can't stand Brady but I am aware he is one of the best ever at the position. Please thin about what you are going to post before you go and make yourself look foolish.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:53 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Ward's days as a Steeler are not necessarily over. It simply means the Steelers believe his production does not match his salary. Ward will test the free agent market. Outside of Daniel Snyder, I don't know anyone crazy enough to offer Ward what he would have made under his former contract with the Steelers. With that said, Ward has been quoted as saying he would like to remain with the Steelers. I'm guessing the Steelers will give him that opportunity for a lot less money.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:27 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

SoxCeltsPatsBs,  We could also call Brady Overrated and Irrelevant now that he has lost another Super Bowl.  I guess he wasn't able to cheat his way to this one.

Since: Jul 26, 2009
Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:27 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

About time, his skills have deterioated and he is taking up space and money for a year receiver. Bring him on asa coach.

Since: Dec 1, 2008
Posted on: March 1, 2012 4:25 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

WACisWHACK, Your jealousy of the Steelers organization shines through with each of your posts.  Of course, coming from Cleveland, I certainly don't blame you.  Hines was not a cheap player.  He played completely within the rules and the fact that they changed a rule because of him is a complement, nothing else.  Just look at his numbers, and his body of work over 14 years.  He will rightfully be shrined in the Hall of Fame in a few years, and you will still be posting hate messages about the Steelers on this site. 

Since: Jun 30, 2009
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:52 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

@SoxCeltsPatsBs, you have no understanding of sports and even less class.

Since: May 10, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:23 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Well Good to See the Steelers cutting dead weight.  Now all they have to do is cut Casey Hampton, Arron Smith and that piece of trash William Gay.  Looking better to get under the salary cap and sign some of there young recievers Brown and Sanders and Hopefully get a 1st rd pick for wallace.

Since: Feb 10, 2007
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:09 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

What?  I thought he retired already!?!  He played last year?  Didn't notice.   Can you say OVERRATED AND IRRELEVANT!

Since: Oct 7, 2011
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:04 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward

Hines is way overdue to retire, prob a year or two late. The Steelers had to run a gimmick play just so he could get open for his 1000 catch and he lost yards on it. Comparing him to Moss or TO is rediculous cause they are just plain better than him, age is the only thing they have in common. He had a great career and is only tarnishing it by trying to play to long, sorry

Since: Sep 18, 2006
Posted on: March 1, 2012 3:01 pm

Steelers set to release WR Hines Ward


You definitely don't know as much as you think you do..  Crack back blocks have been a part of football since the beginning... How does that make him dirty?  His hits are far from Cheap Shots... The only people who consider him dirty is someone like yourself... Its tackle football, not 2 hand touch...   The NFL changed the rules now so the hard crack back blocks are illegal now but definitely legal for most of his career...
As a person who played OLB in college, I know way more than I would like to about Crack Back Blocks.. But it was my job and the corners job to make sure I was aware the crack back was coming...  I simple Crack Crack Crack call helps eliminate that block...

No way is he cheap... Just a tough hard nosed WR who did the little things to help his team win...  

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