NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora says #Steelers won’t bring back Hines Ward: bit.ly/A5RHhr
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) February 11, 2012
Like I said this was something that pretty much was going to happen seeing that Ward is on the hook for $4M over the next year and the Steelers are still around $10M over the cap after all the restructured deals but that doesn't really make it much easier as a football fan of the Steelers.
While Hines Ward's play has dipped over the past few years that doesn't diminish what he has meant to this team. He has been the heart and sole of the offense and a staple of what the Pittsburgh Steelers are about. Hard nosed and will do whatever it takes to win a football game while having a smile on his face 100% of the time. There were so many good times that you can't pick out just one and while there have been a few down times there is no doubt that Hines Ward is one of the best receivers to ever put on the Black and Gold.
Ward has been a rock for this franchise and has amassed over 12,000 yards on 1,000 career receptions and should be a Hall of Fame player. He has never put on another jersey and if the Steelers do not bring him back at a reduced rate you can expect that he will play again in 2012 in another jersey.
I am not really sure if I can process this right now. I knew this was going to happen and to be honest this is the right thing to do if you are the Steelers. Ward didn't see the field a whole ton last year and with the youth movement in the receiving core there really wasn't much space left for him, especially at the salary he was at.
All that being said he could be back if he takes the vet minimum or something but I am not sure what is going to happen. Whatever happens I am always going to remember Hines Ward as one of the most fun players to watch on the field in my time watching the Steelers. He has been a gammer and for every huge catch he made across the middle he laid out a crushing block down field to spring a run. It was a true please to watch him play football. He will always be a Steeler no matter where he may go next season.
As I sit here and think about Ward's career it struck me that Ward is much like the Mellon Arena, in a weird way. If you are a fan of the Penguins you know what the Mellon Arena means to that team and to the fans. It was the first home of the Penguins and there were so many good and bad times there that it was hard to move over to the CONSOL Energy Center. In both cases (Ward, Mellon Arena) what happened needed to be done but that doesn't mean it made it easier to see it happen. Just like Mellon Arena there were so many good times in Hines Ward's career that he will never be forgotten. Everything must come to an end but the memories will always be there.