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Steelers didn't offer Ward a pay cut

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08:05 AM ET 03.01 | Hines Ward will not return to the Steelers, and he took the high road Wednesday, saying he would "always bleed black and gold," and that he believed he had more football in him. Mr. Ward, who had two years left on his contract at a $4 million annual salary, was never offered a chance to take a pay cut, a source close to the receiver told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. That would indicate the decision was based purely on their assessment of him as a player. ... Mr. Ward told the Post-Gazette in a Feb. 2 interview in Indianapolis during the week of the Super Bowl that he had met with Mr. Rooney and coach Mike Tomlin and told them he wanted to play for the Steelers in 2012 and was willing to take a pay cut.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Hines Ward, Getty Images Hines Ward, Getty Images
March 1, 2012  08:49 AM ET

The Steelers just didn't want to dance around this issue anymore.

March 1, 2012  08:50 AM ET

Sorry to see it end this way. But, as I said elsewhere, accountants are running the show right now.

March 1, 2012  08:54 AM ET

is it cheaper to cut him, and later re-sign him?

March 1, 2012  08:57 AM ET

Damn, I hate to see such a loyal team player go, all time best receiver with the Steelers, one great person too, but there is no room for sentimentality. They have cap problems and need to sign some of their younger guys. We will miss you Hines and that smile of yours.

March 1, 2012  09:04 AM ET

I hear that the 'skins are looking for someone for RG3 to throw to.

March 1, 2012  09:10 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

Damn, I hate to see such a loyal team player go, all time best receiver with the Steelers, one great person too, but there is no room for sentimentality. They have cap problems and need to sign some of their younger guys. We will miss you Hines and that smile of yours.

Eventually it happens to every player, but this still surprised me in a way. Hard to believe Ward's been at it for 14 seasons.

It won't take him long to find another team.

March 1, 2012  09:12 AM ET
QUOTE(#4):

We will miss you Hines and that smile of yours.

That one he always wore after peeling himself from the turf.

March 1, 2012  09:16 AM ET

He will be somebody's third or fourth option at WR.

March 1, 2012  09:28 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

That one he always wore after peeling himself from the turf.

Yeah, because the referee was signalling a reception. Gotta give the guy credit for being effective.

March 1, 2012  09:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

He will be somebody's third or fourth option at WR.

Better than that, maybe, depending on where he ends up.

March 1, 2012  09:34 AM ET
QUOTE(#8):

He will be somebody's third or fourth option at WR.

Better than that, maybe, depending on where he ends up.

March 1, 2012  09:38 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

The Steelers just didn't want to dance around this issue anymore.

And to their credit, buy cutting him loose now, Ward gets a chance to hook up with a new team sooner rather than later. It's the right thing to do.

March 1, 2012  09:38 AM ET

* by cutting him loose now

March 1, 2012  09:50 AM ET

Maybe he could catch on as a dance instructor or as guest judge this year, on 'Dancing With(out) the Stars'???

March 1, 2012  09:55 AM ET

Would love to see a venue(combine ) where veterans that have been let go do the shuttle, run the forty and press 225 LBS. again and compare it to their numbers when they did it before the draft.
That I would watch.

March 1, 2012  10:00 AM ET
QUOTE(#15):

Would love to see a venue(combine ) where veterans that have been let go do the shuttle, run the forty and press 225 LBS. again and compare it to their numbers when they did it before the draft. That I would watch.

Ward himself said he hasn't lost a step, because he never had one to begin with, never had blazing speed, just tough blocking and great hands.

March 1, 2012  10:05 AM ET

As a Steelers fan, it's upsetting but not surprising. He could be a huge upgrade to a team like the Broncos. Running is important there, and the ability to slip off of a block and run a route out of play action, he would be deadly.

March 1, 2012  10:26 AM ET
QUOTE(#1):

The Steelers just didn't want to dance around this issue anymore.

Nice..... But seriously, it IS a tough pill for Steelers fans to swallow....to see a player who most would consider the "quintessential" Steeler, finally ending his career with the B&G. I was hoping the Steelers would keep him on at the veteran minimum pay, if for nothing else than to provide some leadership and guidance to an otherwise very young receiving corps... It would be a shame to see Ward playing in another teams colors.....like Franco Harris and Rod Woodson did.. I think Hines would make an excellent receivers coach and if the Steelers were smart, they should extend an offer to talk about this option with Hines...

March 1, 2012  10:30 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

That one he always wore after peeling himself from the turf.

I think you mean after he clocked someone with a hard block down field. There will NEVER be another like him. Don't let the last year or two make your memory fuzzy about how tough this SOB was on the football field. He will be missed.

 
March 1, 2012  10:32 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

That one he always wore after peeling himself from the turf.

LMAO! ....tell that to Ed Reed, or Keith Rivers.....Ward was more often the one crackin' open the can of "whup-****".... But I don't remember any of THEM bouncing back up to their feet with that Sh#T-eating grin of his!!! ;)

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