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Leak a disservice to Ward

I don’t know how the Hines Ward saga is going to play out.
I do know that whoever leaked to the NFL Network that the Steelers aren’t bringing back Ward owes him an apology.
That wasn’t a low-class move. It was a no-class move.
The Steelers don’t owe Ward another season based on the 14 distinguished ones he has given them.
The NFL is a business and a cut-throat one at that. You win six Super Bowls by making difficult personnel decisions, such as what the Steelers are facing with Ward, above the neck and not below it.
Ward helped the Steelers win two of those Lombardi Trophies, taking home a Super Bowl MVP award as well. He owns just about every Steelers receiving record of note and is second in team history with 86 touchdowns.
He has mentored young players, particularly the three wide receivers that collectively have made Ward expendable. He has also been, for the most part, a good ambassador for the Steelers and the NFL.
If the Steelers decide to go in another direction that is their prerogative. But Ward has earned the right to hear it first from them — and not get blindsided by a TV report.
The Ward leak may signal a difference of opinion within the organization when it comes to the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver. It also makes you wonder if someone is simply trying to push an agenda when it comes to Ward.

— Scott Brown

Comments

  1. Eric Bowser says:

    Sure sounds like 2 of Rooney, Colbert and Tomlin are not on the same page and someone is leaking news to embarrass the others.

  2. Linda says:

    The Steeler’s have a reputation as a first class organization and they should act as such. Whomever leaked this story does not represent the ideals that this team has worked so hard to establish and maintain. Hines has been an asset to the team and the city of Pittsburgh and should be treated with the respect he has earned. The “source” that leaked this story (if true) has not acted in a reputable way.

  3. Bob says:

    Could not agree more. . . if this rumor is the truth and there indeed was a leak by the Steeler organization to NFL network, count me as one very very disappointed 63 year old fan of the Steelers for the past 55 years. You simply don’t let this kind of thing slip out and it is indeed a mis service to a loyal Steeler in Hines Ward. Bob

  4. Van Man says:

    Tired of Ward’s drops and fumbles and penalties. See you in Canton in 10 years. Now get outta here.

  5. Jay Walker says:

    Sorry, pal, this isn’t MLB. Don’t produce, don’t get a paycheck. Pro sports as it oughta be.

  6. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Love Rooney’s game plan. To hell with the past. It’s about the here and now. If you don’t bring anything to the field, then don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  7. Harry says:

    Let’s be honest — Ward was piss-poor last season. At his age, he’s not worth the money.

  8. Eddie says:

    Dan Rooney said that the only decision he regrets is that he let Franco leave and retire in another uniform. I hope this isn’t one of Art II’s regrettable mistakes.

  9. Barry says:

    At this rate, maybe Tomlin won’t be around for 20 more years, after all.

  10. Barry says:

    Franco should have retired. He was toast. That’s on him, not management.

  11. olddog says:

    Ward is an excellent mentor to our young receivers. Keeping him another year would ensure greater success to the young guys. Why not cut him and then re sign him to league minimum. League minimum for a vet like Ward is decent money for what he would give and it would save 3 mill off the cap. Now everyone would be happy

  12. rob Henderson says:

    I guess they just don’t want to see his sulking on the sidelines because he’s not playing. I know I’ve gotten tired of it this season. It was painfully obvious that he wasn’t coming back. They did everything they could so he could get the record and ride off into the sunset. Now he’ doesn’t want to go. I’m sure his comment about his 4 mil really isn’t that much money but I’ll take a cut. I love Hines Ward and other older vets but its time to move forward. Last year was your swan song and this goes for Aaron Smith & Casey Hampton.

  13. Rommel says:

    For purely emotional reasons, I’d love for the Steelers to bring Ward back for one more year-but understand if they decide not to. But I agree with Scott Brown, Hines Ward doesn’t deserve this treatment-if indeed the leak came from within the Steelers organization. Ward has been a good ambassador for the team for years, he should be treated with respect.

  14. Doug Halfen says:

    NO WAY should Ward be jettisoned just yet. One less “assassin hit” from Ray “The Killer” Lewis, and Hines’ role this past season may have been a _little_ different.

    The dude deserves decent (but not exorbitant) money. He’ll have a good future post-playing, so let’s make sure we don’t insult his fine legacy — he finishes as a Steeler.

    My suggestion: sign for 1.5 million, but prepare/play like you’re earning 8. The young bucks can definitely use more of his presence, especially since we’re making a bit of a (magnificent) transition on offense. Next season is looking MUCH better already. ;^)

  15. Dave G in Liberty Township, OH says:

    While I fully appreciate everything Hines Ward has accomplished as a Steeler, I painfully feel it’s time for him to let go.

    A million thank yous to Ward for an exemplary career!

    But roster spots are valuable.

    Hines value as a mentor could best be served in a coaching/assistant role.

  16. John Lease says:

    If you make this decision, you do it with class. Could not agree more Scott.

  17. Bon says:

    First of all it’s just a rumor, Ward is the #4 WR at the moment under contract. They have nobody better. Nonsense about special teams contribution. A lot of erroneous
    information out there as well. They can cut him and resign him to the minimum if he and they agree.

    Steelers right now are short of pass catchers both TE and WRs. before they jump into the abyss and get rid of Ward they might want to line up replacements.

    I don’t know for sure who’s talking out of turn but I have an idea, it is up to the Steelers organization to communicate better. Something that is missing right now.

  18. Broncdad says:

    Sports is performance based business loved the contribution Heinz made to steeler success. It’s not about restructuring a contract. It’s about utility. Time to go

  19. cerone says:

    Let’s hope this is bad reporting and nothing more. Ward’s demotion was very poorly handled this year. I would hope the Steelers treat him more appropriately going forward, whatever the team decides to do with him. He more than deserves this. I hope he plays another year. I don’t see Cotchery staying to be the fourth receiver. Ward would be a fine guy to have on the team. He can still block with the best and play in short yardage situations – not to mention he would provide some veteran leadership on a still very young receiving corps and he would be a very capable back up if one of the young money guys goes down. Go Steelers.

  20. Richard says:

    Some of you so called fans are as classless as the fool who released news of Ward’s imminent release, if that is indeed true. As Scott writes, Ward deserves respect and it goes beyond the organization to includes the fans, if you really are fans of the team, who cheered his successes and the team’s during his career. Jerkoffs.

  21. Bob Temp says:

    Player/coach!!! split his salary and you have the best of both worlds. He’s still has gas in the tank and these young recievers wouldn’t be as good if it wasn’t for WARD.
    KEEP HIM IN BLACK & GOLD

  22. Bon says:

    Bob temp, there are no players/coaches in the NFL, no provision in CBA for it

    Besides the steelers have position coaches that make good money to do this

  23. Rick says:

    Didn’t produce – where is the fact that Ward was concussed and injured in the same game and wasn’t the same afterwards. He wasn’t demoted, he couldn’t perform up to his standards. That fact was not released until the last game or so.
    – Good old league no-calls allowed that.
    If he can perform like he was able to in the beginning of the season then he should stay, he should retire a Steeler.

    That all said – and I do realize pro football is just another business – it appears we have gotten to a stinky part especially for the Steelers organization given all the machinations about the OC hire, discussions around that, comments by Ben and about Ben, and this.

    Don’t you just love modern reporting. Make something out of nothing, just splash a title on an article. Most people don’t read past that.

    Just look at all the nonsense about Manning, who needs him, where he is going. Hell, he hasn’t even been released by the Colts, so what is real.

    Redo his contract, keep him a Steeler until he retires.

  24. Dave crowley says:

    If this is true and the steelers leaked this information, I will be one disgusted fan. My wife and I have been going to see the steelers play for the last nine years. It is a very expensive weekend to say the least. I will guarantee that won’t happen this year if they treat Hines like this. The rooney’s will regret this forever. Who would you rather have at the number four? Hines or some rookie you can’t trust! I hope this is a stupid rumor.

  25. k2 says:

    Keeping Ward is a tough decision, but I hope they do for one last year. From a fans perspective, its tough to let go of the Steelers greats.

    Starkey’s article on BB. The Steelers don’t need BB more then he needs the Steelers. I’d bet BB is a middle of the road QB if played for any other team. It kills me when people give him so much credit for the Steelers success???? Please someone look at the guys performance in SB minus the drive (which I’ve said before, Holmes made BB look great on that drive). BB has had great players around him and arguably one of the all time greatest defenses to support him as well. And please save the O-line comments too, BB does not help himself out there either.

    I just hope the little drama queen can get out of his own way and that Haley pushes him to be the QB some already praise him to be ….There is room for improvement and thats why the Rooney’s are making the changes they are making cause Benny Ball is not going to cut in this league.

  26. Bon says:

    Well indeed the Steelers need Ben more than he needs them. If Tomlin and Haley screw this up they will be gone. The players make the money and they make the game of pro football. I am sure Ben will be anxious to get the new plan going.

    As for the drama, yeah all QBs have some drama in them. Terry Bradshaw was the first the Steelers had.

    Haley would well advised to fix the offensive line first, that’s where 90% of the problems are. Injuries happen to all teams but the team has to address the line this off season.

    In Super Bowl 43 Ben is the one who rescued the defense and not the other way around.

    Dixon Leftwich and Batch have no future on this team

  27. Donnie says:

    Keep him on the payroll….as a Receivers C-O-A-C-H.
    Lotta knowledge on defenses between those ears.

  28. Christian says:

    Agreed; no way to treat Hines. If Hines Ward is willing to be the # 4 or 5 WR for the league minimum, then you sign him. It’s obvious he wants to come back one more year, and he’s willing to take a pay cut to do it. No brainer. We love you, Hines!

  29. siggy says:

    Go ahead. Trade Ben. Cut Ben. Then when he rings another ring with a new team you’ll be crying that they traded him.

  30. Dejan Shortpants says:

    Pssst, Hines, get the hint? R-E-T-I-R-E-M-E-N-T.

  31. Jay Walker says:

    We can only hope Foote, Farrior and Smith get the hint, too.

  32. Jay Walker says:

    Bon: It’s not up to Haley to fix the o-line. That’s on Colbert. He has refused to make it the No. 1 priority for years. That’s the problem.

  33. Jopa-n says:

    Joe Starkey, columnist and future film critic of the Pittsburgh Tribune, rates the thriller ‘ True Steel Power’, starring Ben Roethlisberger as a Franchise QB gone out of control, Mike Tomlin as the disrespected coach caught in the middle, and a special appearance by Art Rooney the II, as the evil owner who looks to destroy the wills of the QB and coach:

    ttp://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/columnists/starkey/s_781267.html

    Starkey gives True Steel Power 4 stars and says it keeps you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. He cites the relationship between the role played by Roethlisberger and that of the new fiery offensive cord., played by Todd Haley, as one we can’t afford to miss.

  34. rob Henderson says:

    IT COULD BE BRUCE ARIANS.

  35. Steelers7thHeaven says:

    IM disgusted with some of you “TRUE Steeler” fans…..what the hell u thinking!! Its the same everywhere, no loyalty by a company for those who work hard, are honest, and give their best. I don’t think Ward would be hurt by his contracting being reduced to finish out his last season as a Steeler. He would have a better year if BA would have used him more the last few yrs…..he was not part of the game plan, that’s Bruce’s fault!!

    We could have moved the ball in Super Bowl against greenbay, if we would have veteran receivers being called on to catch the critical balls, instead we go to young guys, the ones BEN wants to make famous/superstars overnight, instead of an old reliable like Ward or Heath that will/WOULD have caught the balls…..all I can say is im glad the door hit BA on his @ss on the way out, way over due, lets give Ward one more year with new OC, and see what happens after that…….True Steeler fans have loyalty for their players, and u disrespectful MF’s better get back in line and start thinking straight, or get off the bus, cause you don’t belong with us!!!!

  36. Hutch says:

    I don’t get all you “dump Hines” types. Our young money crew is solid, yes, but always one injury away from needing a solid backup. Hines is a reliable possession receiver that fits certain packages. He feels the zone and settles down in space very well. He adjusts to the ball and catches it wherever it’s thrown, in tight coverage, and picks up tough yards, etc. Then there’s the mentoring of the young guys, which is not BS, but real (blocking, work ethic, unselfishness, etc). If he weren’t willing to take a pay cut, or if he weren’t willing to handle with humility and class the role player that he’d be, that would be one thing. But c’mon! The pros of keeping him greatly outweigh the cons in his case! Wait till someone’s injured midseason and Hines fills in and we don’t miss a beat, as he goes about his business as he always does – and you’re telling me that this, plus locker-room presence and leadership etc – is less valuable than an extra hand on special teams? I’m all for moving onto the future, but let’s be smart about this. Remember when we kept the Bus for one more year for a minimum cost? Worked out pretty well, and it let the Bus finish as a Steeler, which we are ALL gratified by. Same would be true for Hines, and he probably will come up big this season, just like he’s overcome the naysayers his whole life.

  37. Matt says:

    Just pay the guy the league minimum. You know he’ll take it. His knowledge and example is really indispensable to those young talented receivers. They’ve even said so! I don’t care if he’s only in 3 plays a game.

    Don’t be stupid Art.

  38. Mabus says:

    Hines is well known for calling Big Dbag on his BS attitude and activities. Its clear that Ben and his BFF Arians kept the ball out of Hines hands to screw him over. Mark my words, we lose Hines, he will kick ass somewhere else. Ben did not even throw the winning pass in superbowl XL (randel el did). Ben threw an interception in the pro bowl (a game with no defense). He could not wear Hines jock or display his level of class. Harrison is right Ben’s not Manning…

  39. hammertime says:

    Wake up folks, we love Hines Ward, lets hope he loves himself enough to understand his time has come and gone!!!! Hoping he don’t be like Franco Harris who embarrass himself by staying to long when his time was up, he simply looked pathetic in that SEAHAWK uniform, plus he had nothing left in the Tank, Hines, we love you, You are a sure Hall Of Famer, don’t Disgrace yourself or the Steelers by trying to Force their Hand, You will LOSE, and this thing could end UGLY!!!!!!! AND FOR THOSE BASHING THE ROONEYS, “YOU ARE TRULY RIDICULOUS”, EVERYONE ALREADY KNEW THEY WERE GOING TO LET HINE’S GO THIS YEAR, ALL THE YOUNG TALENT WE HAVE NEED TO PLAY AND DEVELOPE, SAME THING FOR FARRIOR AND ARRON SMITH MUST GO, (YOU CAN’T PAY GUYS FOR MEMORIES!!!!!!!) SEE PAYTON MANNING!!

  40. Steelers4Life says:

    To those of you dissing on Hines, go root for the Cowboys… sounds like that is where you belong. This article is not about whether or not it is a good business decision to bring back Ward. This article is about the fact that Hines Ward has earned the respect of everyone within the Steelers organization as well as the FANS of the Steelers. He has given everything he has for 14 seasons. No one who has not played in the NFL knows at what cost that translates to. Yeah, yeah, yeah, he was paid well for any sacrifice made, that does not take anything away from what he gave and what he has earned way beyond the dollars.

    The Steelers organization earned their reputation of being one of the classiest organizations in the entire NFL, by the way they have run this team. Not doing their business in public with the players or coaches is part of that. No they haven’t been perfect, but they set the highest of standards for all teams…. by being pretty darn close…. Until now. Yes, there comes a time when hard decisions have to be made with your older players. When those older players have spent their career with you and helped bring two SB Championships and almost a third, such things are even tougher. The right “business” decision may or may not be to say good-bye to Hines Ward. There are valid arguments on both sides of that coin. REGARDLESS of which side anyone is on, the greater issue is HOW such a decision is handled. The one thing you DON’T do, is treat that player like they were just another piece of meat in a uniform…. Hines should be the first to know what the team is thinking regarding him. PERIOD… and if its time to part ways, you do it first class not cargo rate…. You celebrate what and who he has been for you and you show him your appreciation for what he has meant to your organization, your team, his teammates, your success. You DON’T kick him in the backside with the other side of the door and you DON’T let pre-decision discussions or thoughts be leaked to any media source.

    I assume all of you celebrating the potential departure of Ward and the other veterans who were part of why we now have 6 Lombardi’s in stead of just 4, work. When it comes time for you to retire, just what do you think is a proper send off by your employer? Private notification followed by a celebration of what you contributed over the years, or a leak to the national media you are soon to be let go, followed by a: “sorry buddy, you just don’t have what you used to and its time to send you packing, so some younger guy can do the job you can’t…. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out, now!” Somehow, I doubt you think that would be a proper way for your employer to treat you….

  41. Craig says:

    I dont know where alot of these comments are coming from!! Hines IS STILL A CLUTCH RECIEVER! How many times was Hines open on his route and the balls didnt come his way?? (when he played!). Yup, he did drop a few…so did Wallace, Brown, Miller. There IS room for him. Crotchery is NO Ward. He does have some left in his tank. One of you commented that Hines sulked on the sidelines because he wasn’t playing. What game were YOU AT?? I never saw that. He was unhappy when we were losing!

    I for one don’t want him to leave. This would hurt as much as losing Rod Woodson (who have plenty left) to the Ravens. I hope the Steelers work something out with him.

  42. Steelers4Life says:

    PS, I agree with Craig. I lost count of how many times Ward was open, even after he was all but removed from the offense, and rather than throw to him for a first down Ben threw to a covered “young gun” incomplete. I also remember Ward getting behind the entire defense only to have the ball thrown 5 yards or more over his head. The man can still find the holes in the defense. The differnce between 2011 and 2010 or prior, is the number of plays given and the number of balls thrown his way… it is not reflective of how seldom Ward was open, or could have been open if on the field.

    I’ll reverse the statement from Brady’s wife after the superbowl, Ward can’t both throw the ball to himself and catch it… He can only catch what is thrown to him and make the best of those throws. Ward’s numbers this season are not viable for use as a measuring stick of his current abilities…. No receiver will have good numbers if they are removed from the majority of an offense and ignored on the plays in which they are included.

    I don’t want to see Ward in another uniform, but if he has to play with another team, I hope they give him the chance to show what he has left… and I hope its not to a team the Steelers play…

  43. Bon says:

    Could all this Ward disrespect due to Ward calling out Ben for not playing against the Ravens when he was concussed a couple of seasons ago. Or is it than Ben and Arians didn’t want him in the offense.

    I really think the steelers are laughing their asses off at the media on how they blow things out of proportion.

    All the beat guys are getting crazy with their concocted stories.

    We as fans will neber learn the “truth”

    Mike Florio is an idiot

  44. Zarbor says:

    Reading some of these comments is very troubling. We now have a lot of “Steelers Fan” that really are bandwagon fans that jumped on the last few years. No self-respecting die-hard Steelers fan would make comments about Hines Ward (the greatest Steelers receiver) like many have on this thread. It ridiculous and embarrassing to hear so called Steeler fans calling for Hines to hit the road. Are you kidding me? Not to mention, if these so called fans were around, they would have remembered that Jerome Bettis was in the exact same situation as Hines and we kept him though he was not as effective. It the way of the Burgh but most of you fake fans wouldn’t know about that.

    Lastly, Scott Brown and this other clown on this site talking about the Steelers disrespecting Hines Ward based on a RUMOR from some NFL idiot named Jason whatever are the ones that should be ashamed. The clown on the NFL network couldn’t even get Hines existing contract deal right. I’m always amazed at how the media continues to hear one guy say something and it becomes fact without anyone checking to see if it was actually true. How many times have we seen this and yet dummy after dummy run with the rumor to make a buck.

    The reason no one has talked to Hines is real simple. There are far more important things to take care of FIRST before they get to Ward. That’s not disrespect, that’s just plain priorities. Last time I checked, they have a couple of starting key players that they have to take care of to make sure we keep them. Oh BTW, I think that offensive coordinator thing was little bit more important. You media guys are a real joke and wish we can shut them down in the Burgh. Stop sniffing for a scoop because many of you are sniffing hot crap that you are calling a real story.

  45. Rick says:

    I went to the NFL and ESPN sites to see if there was anything real.

    NOTHING, all based on some “journalists’s” thoughts that Ward is done. He can’t stay cause his production was down, he was demoted, blah blah. I have “inside information”, is a fabrication from their over active brains.

    I also cannot believe that the Steeler’s organization would do something like this in this day and age knowing full well how fast crap reports spread, true or not.

    Omar is not going to be the Ram’s GM, someone else was hired. I say yay to that, as he is a genius at getting us to salary cap levels.

    Is Ward like he was 3 or 4 years ago. No. So what. Yes, he was still open plenty of times. Maybe he wasn’t thrown to because he wasn’t #1 receiver for the play called and the great O line we had gave Ben all the time he needed to run full progressions for every play.

    Did he play hurt, yes. At least 3 or 4 games because Sanders was out.

    Sheesh!

  46. hammertime says:

    For those who are speaking about your profound luv for Hines Ward, some of you are “TRULY NUTS”, EVEN JERRY RICE HAD TO LEAVE AT SOME POINT, If you knew how you sound!!! “Lets Bring Back Joe Green to play Nose Tackle”, did you say the same thing when FRANCO HARRIS was let go????? Probraly Not, were you A STEELER FAN BACK THEN, Probrably Not, and GUESS WHAT, You don’t Sound like Much of ONE TODAY!!!!!!!!!! If they have a 5th or 6th reciever spot left open, then give him that at reduced Pay, But most of ALL!!!! Let him leave with (Dignity), and not go out in Shame!!

  47. Luis says:

    The NFL Network and NFL.com don’t need much to start rumours, remember those reporters get paid by clicks… So for that anyone can be “close to the organization”. NFL reporters are lame.

  48. Bill Z. says:

    I know that the NFL is a business, a sports business. But businesses are made up of people, and this whole situation is another reminder of something that has been lost to our society; CLASS. Ask yourself this question; What would the Chief have done?

    One other question, Whatever happened to the position known as player/coach?

  49. Harry says:

    Time to Ward to hang ‘em up. (See Harris, Franco.)

  50. DK67 says:

    Ward isn’t done…far from it. He would remain a very trustworthy #5 with a pay cut he’s willing to accept. Hell, even 2M/yr is a steal to keep him. Wallace, Brown, Cotchery, Sanders, Ward…there’s your receivers…now go worry about the O-Line! The Browns would love to have one receiver as good as Hines still is today. Give him one more year and let him retire with class.

  51. Jay Walker says:

    DK67: We didn’t watch the same games last season. The Ward I saw dropped passes, coughed up the ball, committed mindless penalties and ran like a tight end.

    BTW, Cotchery is history. Won’t come back to be an underpaid No. 4 here. Wallace, Brown and Sanders is good enough for me.

  52. Mark says:

    personally, i think this is much like the Casey Hampton situation that this same guy reported inaccurately a few years ago…i think the leak was intentional jsut to try and make sure Ward will take the least amount of $$$ to come back as possible, but without insulting him in person. i dont see the problem if he agrees to lower his salary to $1 million or less per year. he has 1 year left on his currrent contrat and i think he just wants to finish that commitment even if he has to restructure. I also think he can stil be a factor on 3rd downs and in the red zone. he has a knack for getting open down near the goal line and is a TD machine. with less than 1/2 the yards Antonio Brown had, Ward still had jsut as many TD’s…that to me says he should still be used more just like Heath Miller in the red zone, where your speed is not as important as it is just getting open

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