Hines Ward is part of a different team than usual this week -- lending analysis to NBC's broadcast of Super Bowl XLVI on the network's pregame show -- but he believes that come the fall, he'll be on the same team he's been a part of for the last 14 seasons.
The veteran wide receiver told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he feels as if he'll restructure his contract and stay in Pittsburgh. Ward is scheduled to make $4 million in the last two years of his contract as it is currently structured, and is due a roster bonus on March 1.
Ward, who caught 46 passes for 381 yards this season (a career-low 8.3 yards per catch), spoke to head coach Mike Tomlin on Monday, but had not received any definite word from team officials on his fate as of Friday.
Ward's former offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, arrived in Indianapolis last month on a longer assignment: he'll take over as the Colts' offensive coordinator in 2012. Some have the departure of Arian -- who had looked to reduce Ward's role in the last two years -- as a factor in making Ward's return to Pittsburgh more likely, but Ward avoided comment on the subject Friday, saying, "I'd just rather not say anything."
For now, Ward will keep his focus on his current job with NBC: analyzing the Super Bowl, where he says that he likes the Giants to beat the Patriots. "The secondary of the Patriots really isn't their strength," Ward told the Post-Gazette, "so I expect for the Giants to have a huge day, especially with [Victor] Cruz and [Hakeem] Hicks and [Mario] Manningham."
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