NFL Network recently reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers will release Hines Ward.
Hines had one of his least productive years in the past season, and for the first time didn’t have a catch in a playoff game. He had the lowest number of receiving yards and touchdowns since his rookie year and struggled to crack the depth chart last year. It doesn’t seem like a fitting end to his career in Pittsburgh, and it is a shame father time is ushering Hines out the door. It’s obvious that Hines doesn’t want to leave.
“I don’t normally like to respond to rumors, but as I’ve said all along, I want to finish my career with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Ward posted on facebook this Saturday.
The Steelers would owe Ward a $4 million dollar bonus in March unless they cut him. Ward has said also that he would re-structure his contract to stay in Pittsburgh, but it seems the Steelers are not interested. The Steelers loss, however, could be the Panther’s gain.
Ward’s ceiling could be the Panthers # 2 receiver, and at the very least Hines could be a great mentor to the Panther’s young crop of receivers. He could also be the 3rd or 4th string wide receiver used against dime and nickel packages. He is also an excellent run blocker and could be used selectively on run plays to block. He’s an excellent locker room guy, and can help the continued culture change in Carolina.
Teammate Antonio Brown supports Ward: “He sets the tone in the room,” Brown said. “We definitely want to help a guy like him win.”