Hines Ward has responded to the Steelers decision to release by mentioning that this was not how he things to end for him in Pittsburgh.
“This isn’t how I wanted this chapter of my career to end. I did everything in my power to remain a Steeler and finish what I started here 14 years ago,” said Ward in statement he released. “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. I do feel that I still have more football left in me and I am looking forward to playing in the NFL, again, this upcoming season.”
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Pittsburgh Steelers are prepared to part ways with longtime WR Hines Ward in an attempt to clear some much needed cap space.
“We had a conversation today with Hines Ward and informed him that we plan to release him of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year,” said Steelers President Art Rooney in a statement posted on Steelers.com. “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. 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.”
Ward, 35, has seen his role in the teams offense diminish in recent years as has his speed and overall ability. It’s hard to say what kind of interest there will be on the open market but the Cardinals have been mentioned as a potential landing spot for him because of his connection to their head coach Ken Whisenhunt.