Roethlisberger pays tribute to Ward, wants Cotchery back


Ben Roethlisberger remember stepping into the huddle in his first year as a starting NFL quarterback.

“He was Hines Ward, one of the best receivers in the game. I got a chance to be in the huddle with him and Jerome Bettis. He made me better. It didn’t matter if I threw a good ball or a bad ball, 99 percent of the time he’d catch it, whether it was with one hand, off a helmet, or off a defender. He made me a much better quarterback and player,” Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Roethlisberger called Ward Wednesday night to thank him, and left a message on Ward’s voicemail. He said that Ward will always be a Steeler, no matter what happens in 2012.

Oh, and by the way: Roethlisberger has some very specific ideas on what the Steelers receiver group should look like.

“Without Hines, I think you have to do everything you can to sign Jerricho back. He’s not only a veteran leader in that room but a really good player. I’d love to see him come back because he’s a really good receiver and I like what he brings to the team,” Roethlisberger said.

Big Ben also noted the uncertainty of Mike Wallace, saying he hopes to have him and Cotchery back.

“All we have is Antonio [Brown] and Emmanuel [Sanders], technically only two. But if it’s those four, I’ll take that every day in the week.”

25 responses to “Roethlisberger pays tribute to Ward, wants Cotchery back

  1. Ward was a solid WR for years, by no means a hall of famer. He will be missed in that huddle. To really pay tribute, Ben should’ve put on some gold sequined pants, got drunk and danced around grinning ear to ear. Hopefully hines pays the steelers tribute by delivering cheap shots to Polamolu and Harrison next season.

  2. bensstinkyfingers

    You’re basically admitting that you’ve never watched him play.

    How does a guy with no size or speed catch 1000 passes while not being on a pass-first team until 9 years into his career?

    By being one of the best route runners in the game.

    Seriously, Calvin Johnson gets open because he’s big, fast and strong. Ward got open because he was smart.

    That’s undeniably a HOF trait.

  3. I sure hope we can keep Wallace. He and Brown at each end. Two deep threats that will be hard to defend, if Ben gets time.

  4. johntonioholmes says:
    Mar 1, 2012 2:44 PM

    Correction: Ward got open b/c teams were okay with giving away the 5-10yd short yardage play with little threat of taking it to the house …

    He has those #’s b/c just like Favre, he rarely missed games and played for (in Ward’s case) 14 seasons….

    I get the love all yinz have for Hines, but PLEASE stop acting like he was a Jerry Rice, Irvin, or Moss type reciever…. dependable, possesion reciever and great blocker no doubt, but ELITE….ever? NO

  5. Hines will make the HOF because he was the best blocking receiver ever to play the game. He was willing to get his nose dirty when the ball wasn’t coming his way . . . something most of today’s receivers wouldn’t think of doing. Defenses had to take his blocking into consideration in their game plan. On some plays, he was a split tight-end, paving the way . . . the Steeler way!

  6. I wish someone had kept track of the third and long situations that Ward turned into first downs. No matter the talk from the goony birds, Ward made the Steelers a lot better just by being there.

  7. cincyorangenblack –

    I’d strongly argue that based on numbers alone (forget the blocking, etc.) Ward was an elite wide receiver from 2001-2009. You’d have to look at per-game averages in 2005-2007 because he missed some games due to injury. He had four 90+ reception seasons in that span and prorated yardage stats are well above 1,000 yards per season during that time. (In layman’s terms, had it not been for injuries, he would have had over 1,000 yards in 8 of 9 seasons.)

    His receiving touchdown numbers do not lineup with those of a “possession” reciever. He’s tied for 13th all time.

    When I say elite, I’m referring to Top 10. Some might consider elite Top 5 or Top 3.

    Is Hines a Hall-of-Famer? Who knows. Based on straight numbers, it would be tough for him to be included over guys like Cris Carter.

  8. From Ben’s lips to Rooney’s ears in terms of Cotchery . . . he has a lot of Hines’s qualities.

  9. I beg to differ. Ward is no HOF WR and here’s why:

    NOBODY is calling Derrick Mason a HOF guy, but their stats are pretty comparable. Ward- 1000 rec for 12,083 yds. 82 TDs. 620 Ist downs, 12 fumbles. D-Mace- 943 rec for 12,061 yds, 62 TDs, 645 1st downs, 7 fumbles.

    Yes I know, 57 more rec and 20 more tds, but Mace also turned the ball over only 7 times in 14 years v Ward’s 12, and acumulated more yards in that many less catches. Mace also pulled in 25 more balls for first downs than Ward with those 57 less catches.

    So if we aren’t going to ever put Derrick Mason in this convo, Ward should be stricken as well. 2 great possession guys, neither HOF worthy, especially if you still have a guy like Chris Carter on the outskirts.

  10. I don’t really see Ward as HOF material based purely on this numbers. But the guy pretty much had a rule created for him (after his hit on Rivers). That has to be worth something.

  11. This guy needs to stop telling the media what he thinks the front office should do. Not only is it presumptuous, but he puts both himself and the pro personnel guys in a bad position.

    The dude is a great player, but his off field conduct, tendency to highlight his injuries and media-handling makes me think he might have a bit of an ego issue.

  12. rockthered1286, you are missing some key numbers. First, Mason played in 13 more games but had 20 less starts. That says something about the value of both players to their teams.

    Hines went to 4 Pro Bowls. Mason went to 2. Hines went to 3 Super Bowls, has 2 rings and 1 MVP. Mason went 0 for 1 in the SB.

    Ward also had superior playoff numbers, a huge factor in HOF voting. Ward played 18 playoff games and had 88 receptions for 1181 yards and 10 TDs – better than he averaged during the regular season. He also had 5 100 yard games in the playoffs and was an impact player in most games. Mason played 16 playoff games and was horrible. He had only 49 receptions for 601 yards and 2 TDs. He didn’t have a single 100 yard game and was rarely an impact player.

    Add in how many devastating blocks Ward had, and how few Mason had, and Ward is a superior player. The numbers prove it.

    Now, whether he is HOF or not is hard to tell. I think he might be but the standard for receivers has changed so much, it is hard to tell.

    What is clear is he performed better when the pressure is on. Mason performed worse. That’s a pretty good indication of player value right there.

  13. mendenhallfumblemachine says:
    Mar 1, 2012 5:38 PM
    Rockethered I suppose the fact he was the best blocking WR in the league and won a superbowl MVP doesn’t matter at all then?


    No…it doesn’t matter. I realize Steeler fans are giving each other thumbs up but the reality is it doesn’t matter.

  14. How many players in league history have had a new rule created by the NFL because he was waxing DBs and LBs with legal blocks and incredible efficiency?? ONE!! Hines Ward. Surely there never has been a receiver that affected his team’s running game and yards after catch success better than Ward.

    Idiot fans of today’s revised version of what used to be called football with their fantasy jag based entirely on stats have no concept of real football. They can’t begin to understand the complete game played by each position player. Hines never took plays off. Randy Moss may have played 50% of his at full speed and has no rings. CC definitely deserves to get in but has no rings.

    Hines Ward will be recognized by his peers as one of, if not the best, the all around receivers to ever play the game due to his 1000 catches, 12,083 yds, 82 TDs and his constant intimidation of defenders with his hustle and play reading. He played like a coach on the field.

    I hope that the B&G will offer Hines a coaching job so that he can retire as a Steeler.

  15. Man Squealers fans are all about using team stats to defend a players HOF creds! Is there a stat for blocking wr’s? then no, it won’t matter. and appearances in the SB and playoffs alike are about a TEAM not an indiviual player (unless your the Colts and Manning) but Ward didnt carry his team into the playoffs and the SB’s, it was a team effort. If you’re going to use that logic, let’s say Bradshaw was better than Marino bc of his SBs (and I feel like Squealer will say he was) and Marino is not HOF worthy. I totally disagree that where your team has gone should dictate your HOF status. Hell, I can’t even give him the SB MVP as cred for HOF cred because it’s all about who made the biggest play in ONE game. Use that logic: Santonio Holmes and David Tyree are HOF bound too! It’s all about surrounding cast when you get into these talks. Look strictly at individual stats. Can you honestly say he belongs in the HOF while Chris Carter is outside looking in? Really? If he gets in the HOF because of what his TEAM accomplished and the fact that he was a great blocker and had a rule made because of his dirty shots (btw, nobody thinks Woodson should be in strictly bc of the tuck rule they created) and they don’t even look at his very good but not quite HOF worthy individual stats, we should start opening the door to any ‘good’ player and not just the elite. This conversation is no different than everyone claiming their QB is elite. It’s becoming such a common phrase that it’s lost it’s meaning just like HOF will if you start letting in any good starting wideout with a good career.

    I’m just saying…

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