When told that he came in first place in a Sports Illustrated poll asking NFL players to name the dirtiest player in the league, Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward said he was surprised to learn he came in ahead of his former teammate, Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter, who came in tied for second.
“I beat Joey? Wow,” Ward said, per the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “How can I be the dirtiest player on the field — a little, old wideout with no speed? I don’t know whether to be happy or mad about it.”
This week’s Sports Illustrated, which features the results of the survey of 296 NFL players, notes that Ward broke the jaw of Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers with a blind-side block, and quotes Rivers’ teammate Chinedum Ndukwe as saying, “He’s a blind-side guy.” But Ward said he has no intention of doing anything differently than he’s always done.
“I’m not going to change the way I play,” Ward said. “If people think I’m dirty, I apologize to them now.”
Ward said he was surprised to learn that Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was on the list of dirtiest players, coming in ninth. The Steelers were one of two teams to have two players on the list of the 10 dirtiest players; Titans center Kevin Mawae and cornerback Cortland Finnegan were both on the list.