Hines Ward has been answering questions about his possible retirement since before the season was over. The questions have continued since the devastating loss to the Broncos this past Sunday.
Since 1999 Hines Ward has been a staple on the Steelers roster on gameday(he caught 15 passes in his rookie year in 1998), making plays that wow fans both with catches and bone crunching blocks. He finished with his 1000th career catch in the final regular season game this year.
Now he has some decisions to make, but equally as important is the decision that the Steelers front office needs to make. Hines is due a $4 million dollar salary this season, he has 2 years left on his current deal. Steelers GM Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin will have to decide how much they can afford to pay the veteran and then Hines will have to decide if he wants to stay in Pittsburgh or move on.
Ward has made it unbundantely clear that he does not want to retire yet, and that he does want to be a Steeler and knows he’ll have to restructure his deal if he wants to do both and stay in Pittsburgh.
“I’d probably have to restructure my contract,” Ward said of the pay cut. “That’s fine with me. I recognize that. I’m telling you I want to be here, I’m telling you I’m willing to do that. And I understand the ramifications — we have the cap number and stuff, but I want to be here.”
As for not starting, Ward noted that happened this season.
“Obviously, I was a starter, and then it went the way it did. That’s fine, I don’t have a problem with not starting. But I want to play, I want to try to win another Super Bowl. I want to do it for this organization. I want to help this team out. I still think I can help this team, on the field, off the field with the younger guys, still be there for the team. I’m willing to do all that.”
“My thing is, I want to be a Steeler, I’m here, I’m willing to restructure, do whatever. I don’t want to be seen in another uniform but, if they decide to part ways, or whatever, I don’t know, I’m not even thinking like that. I couldn’t even fathom myself [in another uniform], but I still want to play football.”
Excerpts from Ed Bouchette’s article on Ward