The Steelers announced on Wednesday that the team will be releasing Ward after 14 years of playing for the Steelers. In those 14 years, Ward secured franchise records for catches (1,000), receiving yards (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). Hines was also nominated as MVP for the 2006 Super Bowl, and was a four-time Pro-Bowl selection.
“Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998 and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve,” Art Rooney II, president of the Steelers, said in a statement released on the team’s website.
“He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years. Hines’ accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best.”
Early in February, there were reports that Ward’s 14-year run with the Steelers may soon be coming to an end, and Hines seemed determined to do whatever it took to be able to stay with the Steelers until his eventual retirement–he even offered to restructure his deal with the team.
In a statement to NFL.com, Ward backed up those reports, saying that he did everything he could to stay with the Steelers.
“This isn’t how I wanted this chapter of my career to end,” said Ward. “I did everything in my power to remain a Steeler and finish what I started here 14 years ago.
“I want to thank the organization, my teammates and coaches and everyone who made my run as a Steeler the best years of my life. To Mr. Rooney, thank you for allowing me to play for one of the greatest organizations in the world. To my fans and in particular, Steeler Nation, thank you for your support and all the great memories. I gave my heart and soul for you every down and I will always bleed black and gold.”
Do you think the Pittsburgh Steelers are making a mistake by letting Hines Ward go?