Hines Ward not playing football?
The intensity, the blocking, the love and that patented smile hanging it up for good?
That doesn't seem possible for a guy who holds nearly every Pittsburgh receiving record.
"Who knows? It might be my last year," Ward said.
"I might wake up and say 'I don't want to play any more.' When I wake up in the morning and I don't want to go out there on the field and put the time in to go out there each and every Sunday, I'll walk away from it."
Ward is coming off one of his worst seasons as he missed three games
with injuries. He had only 71 catches for 732 yards and seven touchdowns.
But most concerning is that Ward just turned 32. He is pushing that magic number of 33 when receivers usually start to decline noticeably.
The emergence of Santonio Holmes, who led the league with 18 yards per catch, has pushed those retirement talks to the side for now.
"He thinks the coaches think he doesn't have it any more because he got a little older," receiver Nate Washington said.
"Hines always feeds off of people thinking he can't do something."
"The day I lose that competitive edge is the day I walk away from the game," Ward said. "I would love to get 10,000 yards receiving. I still have that drive to win another Super Bowl. That was the greatest feeling and to be a part of that, and the older I'm getting, you realize your chances are limited."
Ward's numbers have dipped since 2004, the last of his four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, but offensive coordinator Bruce Arians doesn't believe there is any decline in Ward's game.
"He is still the heartbeat because he is Hines," Arians said.
"We know what he brings to the table every day, every play, every practice, every meeting. I never have been in a meeting room as a position coach or a coordinator with a better veteran leader than Hines."
Ward, who is the all-time franchise leader in receptions (719), receiving yards (8,737) and receiving touchdowns (65), has been pushed by people saying he can't do something.
Since Ward was taken in the third round of the 1998 draft, the Steelers have selected at least one receiver in all but two of the subsequent drafts.
They have taken 12 receivers since drafting Ward, trailing only the number offensive linemen (14) and linebackers (13) selected during that time.
Five of the 12 receivers were drafted in the first or second rounds, including first-rounders Troy Edwards in 1999, Plaxico Burress in 2000 and Holmes in 2006, and second-rounders Antwaan Randle El in 2002 and Limas Sweed in 2008.
"I'm getting pushed out by the wayside I guess," Ward said. "The whole thing (about) who's No. 1 and who's No. 2, I don't like to give labels on anybody because we're all viable options in the passing game. So I'm only as good as my opportunities."