Report: Hines Ward won’t be back with Steelers

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As the Steelers scramble to clear cap space, a $4 million chunk could be opening up in one fell swoop.

Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reports that the Steelers won’t bring back veteran receiver Hines Ward for a 15th season with the team.

In 2011, Ward slid down the depth chart, which makes him way too expensive for his current contribution level.  Also, even if he cuts his pay down to the veteran minimum, he’s in danger of occupying a position that ordinarily would require the wideout to play special teams.

In the end, the Steelers may try to “retire” Ward, the same way offensive coordinator Bruce Arians “retired.”

Maybe Ward will end up with the Colts, too.

134 responses to “Report: Hines Ward won’t be back with Steelers

  1. I don’t really care for the Steelers or Ward but it is kind of sad that the business end of football will decide the fate of their long relationship.

  2. All good things must end, or in this case a great thing.

    Like Andre Reed before him Ward is an all-time great who far outplayed his stats, is an all-timer of an incredibly tough streetfighter of a player and should be in the Hall of Fame someday.

  3. Hines, love ya, but in reality, keeping you would not be the best move for the steelers. This frees up room to keep cotchery, a similar mold with more speed…assuming he’s willing to stay.

  4. Wow in approx. five moves the Steelers have shaves almost 25 Mill from the 2012 cap aready. If Ward who I hope retires that saves them 4 mill more. That is one heck of a front office. With the rest of the vets who will be cut soon they will be in better shape then most think.

  5. I hope this isn’t true. he could have been used more this year. he is a valuable person to the organization both in and off the field.

  6. Undersized Third round pick who who played his heart out for 14 years with Steelers. I love Hines Ward. He is everything good about the NFL. Hope to see him in Canton.

  7. Please for the love of god retire. If a fairly athletic average joe like myself can beat you in a foot race (and by no means I’m I slow) you need to hang em up. He creates absolutely no separation.

  8. We’ll miss you Hines, it’s been a great career! It’s time to ride off into the sunset and RETIRE A STEELER! Don’t make the same mistake others have made, retire a year early instead of a year late!

  9. Like Andre Reed before him Ward is an all-time great who far outplayed his stats, is an all-timer of an incredibly tough streetfighter of a player and should be in the Hall of Fame someday.
    Hall of Famers do not throw their helmet in the Super Bowl and cost their team a score when the game is still in doubt. They are the MVP of a Super Bowl, like Hines Ward.

  10. Ravens fans here…I loved when Jarrett Johnson or Ray Lewis, or whomever knocked Ward on his back, but I think any Ravens fan who’s honest with themselves will tell you they respected Ward. He played hard, blocked for his teammates and always came thru in the clutch. There are certain players who you can’t stand to look at and wish them the worst when your team is playing them, but at the same time know that you wouldn’t mind having them on your side- Ward was one of those guys. A large part of the Ravens/Steelers rivalry will be missed…just glad I won’t to have to see that ugly mug/smile of his.

  11. Wow and double Wow.

    Donald Driver and his magnificent warm smile may be next on the “shoe to fall” list.

  12. Say what you want but this guy bleeds black and gold and I hope this is just a false report, i dont want it to end like this…

  13. My money is on him getting a job within the organization of some sort. Even if he doesn’t, I’m sure he’ll be signed for a one-game contract if the Steelers return to the Super Bowl next year, just so he can get that third ring he wants.

    It’s been an incredible decade-plus, Hines, but it’s time to hang ’em up… But PLEASE stick around long enough to teach Wallace, Brown, and Sanders to stick it to the Ravens’ D like you have (awesomely) done so in past years. I need that in my life.

  14. I think it sucks!!!!! I love Hines and thought he could still play. He always had a smile on his face. He was willing to play for less. He just wanted to play. Hines, you will be missed by all. I hope to see you on TV. I hope someone hires you to do commentator.

  15. Packers may wind up doing the same thing with Donald Driver which also sucks.

    All the best Mr. Ward.

  16. Huh. No deb? ——-“I hope this isn’t true. he could have been used more this year. he is a valuable person to the organization both in and off the field.”——-Oh, sorry, there she is.

  17. Love you, Hines. Thank you for all of the great years. You’ve made Steeler Nation proud along the lines of Greene, Lambert, Harris and Bradshaw. If this is the end, please retire a career Steeler. You have nothing left to prove to anybody. Keep smiling!

  18. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to come to that conclusion. Just look how slow he looked last year. He should thank the Steelers for keeping him around a year to long. Now get your suits out and we’ll see you on ESPN or NFL Network with the rest of the ex players football experts.

  19. A great wideout and a great Steeler. If goes off into the sunset or plays another year or two, his place in NFL history is firmly entrenched

  20. I tried to like hines ward, as a bengals fan its hard though. His cheap shot on keith rivers in his rookie season, in which he blindsided him (neither were on the same half field of the ball, but rivers was technically a “blocker”) and he broke his jaw ending his rookie season. After that, I lost respect for the gouk

  21. I hate the Steelers. I hate Ben Roethlisberger. Heck, I even hate Hines Ward. Yet, I can’t help but feel sad when I read this story. Like him or hate him, Hines has been a staple of the Steelers franchise for 14 seasons. It sucks when such an iconic player is, in a way, forced to retire just to salvage cap space. And what sucks even more is that if he doesn’t decide to hang it up, he will go to some other team where he’ll be #3 or #4 on the depth chart, will have career lows, and then fade into obscurity like other veterans who try to prolong their careers elsewhere.

    The business side of football really stinks.

  22. I’m a fan of ” play makers ” that have courage in the face of insurmountable odds.

    Hines ward has been one of those players.

    Over 15 years, he has won several rings, broken numerous records, he will be a first round Hall of Famer.

    I think, it’s respectable to his legacy to bow out under his own terms and hang up the cleats now.

    I wish the guy all the best and thanks for the entertainment.

  23. It’s time for him to retire. He had 14 great years, set all kinds of records for his team, won 2 Super Bowls and an MVP.

    Hang it up with dignity and enjoy the rest of your life.

  24. If you studied the agreement between the NFLPA and the owners last year you should have realized that the 2012 season would be one of some austerity.

    It stinks that one of the more iconic figures in Steelers history finds himself in the cap space problem; but that is the reality.

    Retire with 1000 receptions (nice round number) and move on to broadcasting or coaching.

    Steelers nation loves Hines Ward.

  25. Lifelong Steeler fan since a kid growing up in western PA —- love Ward. Absolutely love that guy.

    This isn’t like turning the page on Eric Green or Neil O’ Donnell.

    Hines was, and is, a heart and soul type of player. Watch what he brought game in and game out. Lots of respect for what he was about.

  26. Hines will go down as my favorite Steeler of all time so its sad for me to say this, his time has come to retire. I truly hope he ends up in Canton. Although his stats may not hold up over time due to the pass happy nature of things I hope all the voters consider the fact he was a great football player, not just a great wr.

  27. From a business/football standpoint, makes perfect sense if Jericho Cotchery returns..This puts Hines as number 5 on the WR depth chart,behind Brown,Wallace,Sanders,and Cotchery..That basically reduces Hines to work for minimum wage..Will not happen..

    Its a hard reality and a tough business but ,nobody ever defined the term” warrior” better than this guy..He played his entire career without an ACL in either knee..made himself into a hall of fame player with grit,determination,and a fearlessness that will endure him to the Steeler fanbase and organization forever….

    He is the last of a dying breed,a talented wide receiver ,that plays every play of every game like a streetfight…In a position which seems to breed a new prima donna,whining diva every week,Ward played every play like he was entering a back alley street fight,while still producing amazing,hall of fame worthy numbers..

    He will be replaced by a younger,faster,and more productive player at this stage of his career..but clearly we will never see another quite like him!

  28. pitt9292 says:
    Feb 10, 2012 10:53 PM
    Wow in approx. five moves the Steelers have shaves almost 25 Mill from the 2012 cap aready. If Ward who I hope retires that saves them 4 mill more. That is one heck of a front office. With the rest of the vets who will be cut soon they will be in better shape then most think.



    It’s not rocket science. geez how hard is it to identify your overrated/overpaid players and ax them to save money?

    I balanced my family’s budget, so I guess that makes me a genius in your eyes.

  29. nflofficeadmin says: Feb 10, 2012 10:50 PM

    Don’t be mad, the Ravens are hiring.


    Think about it, Hines. You’d be the best QB on the roster and maybe play another 5 years!

  30. It will be weird seeing him smiling thru another teams helmet.Steelers better hope he doesnt go to a division rival looking for some veteran leadership.I can see him laying out some steeler defensive backs.
    THat boy can hit!

  31. @realnflmaster, you mean to match the last 3 seasons the Jets won rings? Sanchez sucks, and will never win a ring, Hines isn’t the player he once was either. Adding him isn’t going to take any team to the promised land, unless they know where to find the fountain of youth.

  32. That is why doing ‘Dancing with the Stars’ was a mistake!!!! He likely lost some strength and could not regain it back quickly enough!!!

    Just go ask Jason Taylor and Chad Uh-oh Spaghetttios!!! How did they do after DWTS????

  33. @steelerhypocrite

    will there be any point in your life that you will actually grow up say mature things?or continue to act like a uneducated 15 year old…really?if you cant be mature why even waste time on these boards.every one is past the Ben should move on also.this story had nothing to do with anyone but Ward,who in my mind is one of the greatest all around receivers to play the game.

    call Ward what you want.i notice people here who are saying our team is signing players.i also notice some of them are the ones who call Ward a cheapshot..go figure now they want him on there team.

    Ward it a a receiver coach.teach some young receivers how to play the manly way.

  34. See you in Canton Hines. More catches, yards, and td’s than any other Steeler, two rings, one Superbowl MVP, 4 pro bowls.

    Most devastating blocking wide receiver of all time.

  35. Bye, bye Whiny!

    Maybe you can get a job opposite Terrel Owens
    on that semi-pro team he signed with…

  36. And all this time I thought I was cheering for an organization which, if not winning Superbowls, was at least a class act. I cannot believeRooney and the oher brass would hang Hines out to dry like this. The only reason he didn’t get the ball more this year was Bruce Arians and his horrible vanilla play-calling. Dude is a major leader and overall force for good on the team and you are just going to throw him out like so much garbage. Horrible.

  37. Thanks for the games Hines. If there’s any chance he’d take the minimum, I’d keep him around though.

  38. Wow steelers are getting ready. Nothing on their way…..hope they don’t bump into….te..bow….te…bow…

  39. Pitt9292 says: “Wow in approx. five moves the Steelers have shaved almost 25 Mill from the 2012 cap already.”

    At least they didn’t shave Brett Kriesel!

  40. I thought Hines acquitted himself well on the Super Bowl broadcast and I always assumed TV was his next move….even before DWTS.

    Todd Haley talked about a “clean slate” and the Ward exit would be part of that. They labored to get him the 1,000th catch last season and so let’s move on.

    Would he end up somewhere else, Indy maybe, with Arians and being a good third sound option for A. Luck? Maybe. But unlike Franco (salary dispute) or Woodson (didnt think he had a second career as a safety) this parting wouldn’t feel that bad. Sign ‘o the times.

  41. steelerhypocrite says:
    Feb 10, 2012 10:41 PM
    Did Ben try raping him too???

    You’re a classless, unoriginal moron. Get some new material. This story has nothing to do with Ben and the “jokes”, if you want to call them that, are old and stale. He was never charged because there was no proof. Get over it, try to control your jealousy of the 6 time Super Bowl champions, and get a life.

    To Hines, thank you for everything you’ve done for the City of Pittsburgh and all of Steeler Nation. We love ya! See you when you go in the Hall of Fame.

  42. steelerhypocrite says:Feb 10, 2012 10:41 PM

    Did Ben try raping him too???
    How old are you two ? As for all the comments you post we can tell that your IQ is about the same as a two year old . Grow up and get a life


    OK, let me give it a go – well, now the Steelers will have to hire someone at a lower rate to blind-side players well away from the play. How’s that?

  44. To bad Hines has to go out like this, just to much money in th NFL and causes players to lose out at end of career. Hines was a big part of the Steelers to stay competative in the last ten years he will be missed. Great competator, even the Steeler haters inside have to admit that.

  45. Can somebody say ravens? I would love too see hines & ray hook up, dont forget rod woodson was also a steeler great on the downside of his career when he won the super bowl with ray lewis..

  46. bubby brister….no need to worry about hines and the ravens….we have too much class to bring in a dirty, cheapshot, hit them when they are not looking, player like dirty hiney…..

    (here is where you can repsond with the Ray is a murderer comments)

  47. I hope the Steelers bring him back at a less amount. He would be a great special teams player and its not beneath him to play special teams. He has been a great steeler and i hate that the business part of it steps in.

  48. The report came from Roethlisberger who doesn’t think that Ward wants to start over and is too stupid to figure out a new offense.

  49. That hack has been irrelevant for 2 years and they carried him because of his “toughness” (read: cheap shot artist), much like when they used to play Bettis over Zereoue. This team is headed straight for third place after the Bengals learn to block their OLB’s and attack their awful secondary. Swaggin’.

  50. ravenfan820 says:Feb 11, 2012 8:49 AM

    bubby brister….no need to worry about hines and the ravens….we have too much class to bring in a dirty, cheapshot, hit them when they are not looking, player like dirty hiney…..

    (here is where you can repsond with the Ray is a murderer comments)
    Thats true the Ravens only bring in murderers like Ray and Donte Stallworth Your so right there a buch of class NO CLASS We cant forget about Terrell Suggs Felony aggrevated assault in Phoenix and Jermaine Lewis for hit and run

  51. Hines single-handedly wrecked the Raven’s and Bengal’s defenses. Currently having fun surfing through YouTube watching clips of Hines laying out Keith Rivers, clobbering Ed Reed, knocking the Ravens out of the AFC Championship in 2011…

    He took his licks to; all part of being tough. For you haters who cry that he’s dirty, I guess “dirty” = “he embarrassed my team by laying out one of our DBs on national television”.

    Nice work, Hines!

  52. i hope he plays another season somewhere so somebody can clean his clock one more time!dirtiest player in the game deserves at least a few more hits to scramble his egg after all the cheap shots he’s thrown on players!

  53. You Steelers homers are hilarious. I hate Cris Carter with all my being…. and do not want him to make it to the Hall of Fame. But even out of my hate, I can clearly see that Chris was 10x the Hall of Fame candidate as Hines. If Chris Carter (#2 on most all statistical categories for wide receivers still to this day) can’t sniff a hall bid, you do the math.

  54. its sad to see the relationship between hines and the steelers potentially coming to an end…I hope he becomes the WR coach and teaches some wideouts how to block

  55. Ward is my favorite Steeler of all time. He emobodies the spirit of all Steeler Nation. He cares about winning just like the people who root for the Steelers. Unlike today’s clowns who tweet dumb things after playoff loss like Pouncy, he actually upset enough to shed tears. He’s the only receiver I know that hit harder than defensive players. He was one of the reasons the rules were changed. The league cried uncle because of the Steeler way that required you to play like you had a set. Pittsburgh was the best in the football era. We are not in the Fantasy League era. They can have that!!

  56. The guy played more tight end than Gonzalez did in his career.

    It’s hard to get tight ends to block anymore, let alone someone who is actually a receiver.

    It’s hard not to admire a team-first guy in today’s NFL.

    By the way, I wasn’t taking a shot at Gonzalez, who also had an amazing career. I’m just saying him and Ward should have switched position titles for their roles in their offenses.

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for both players.

  57. jessethegreat

    No one is saying that Carter shouldn’t get in first. In fact, most of the fan I know AGREE that Carter needs to get in before Ward.

    With that being said, Ward is a better candidate than Michael Irvin was.

    And like I said in my previous post: Gonzalez is a lock for the Hall because of his receiving numbers, which are impressive.

    But Ward did more blocking than Gonzalez ever did. If you call Ward a TE, all of the sudden his numbers become among the best in league history for a guy at his position.

  58. Hines Ward….many cheap shots and a cry baby (like his pouting in the Super Bowl until he got a touchdown).

    HOF? Maybe only because the standards are so low nowadays.

  59. mancinibread says:

    And all this time I thought I was cheering for an organization which, if not winning Superbowls, was at least a class act. I cannot believe Rooney and the other brass would hang Hines out to dry like this.

    You’re rooting for a business, and teams simply can’t afford to keep players into the twilight of their careers out of loyalty. Each position on that roster must go to a man who is better than the guy he beats out of a job. Ward understands the business realities of his profession.

    I love Hines and what he’s meant to the team. But he’s at the end of his road. Yes, he can still contribute–but more effectively than the man they’d lose to keep him? It’s in everyone’s best interest–including his–if he retires. I doubt he could get a spot on another team at his age, but before he goes that route, he should talk to Franco and Emmitt Smith about changing uniforms for a last hurrah. I’m sure both will tell him to retire now as a Steeler.

  60. to all you pathetic ward haters,who call him cheap shot artist.

    i have watched him play the game his whole career.i dont ever remember him getting a penalty for cheap where is the logic in your comments..grow a brain be mature and face i see some raven fans saying come to baltimore ward..those are the same assclowns that i see calling him a cheap shot artist..

    get over yourself..

  61. There are certainly points that can be made on both sides of this issue, but the salary cap makes each roster space more precious very year. For a team with so many needs at other positions, the Steelers are fine at WR. As much as I respect and thank Hines for what he has done for the franchise, on and off the field, I am can see the Steelers releasing him. I am just glad I don’t have to make that call. If that be the case, thanks for everything Hines.

  62. bmoreballbuster says:
    Feb 11, 2012 8:00 PM
    Didn’t #52 already put Ward in FORCED RETIREMENT…Just Saying….
    Maybe by launching his fat arse onto the pile a full 5 seconds after the initial tackle.

  63. Some of you guys are hysterical. Ward knows he’s in the twilight years of his career that’s why he’s asking for just ONE more year and is willing to take a paycut to retire as a Steeler. He isn’t asking for something like a 3-year contract extension for more money. He ain’t delusional like Terrell Owens.

  64. I’ll miss having Heinie Vard around, you could always count on him trying to take out a linebacker by the knees when he was facing the other way. He and the rapist were a matched set on that team.

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