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Ward ends holdout

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  • Ward ends holdout

    Ward to report to camp; new deal expected news services

    PITTSBURGH -- Pro Bowl wide receiver Hines Ward ended his 15-day contract holdout and reported to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.

    ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that the team will reciprocate by resuming negotiations on a new contract in hopes that a deal can be struck by the end of the week

    Ward arrived at Heinz Field about two hours before the Steelers' exhibition against the Philadelphia Eagles and was quickly escorted into the stadium by a team official to watch the game.

    Ward, poised to become the leading receiver in Steelers' history this season, became the team's first major holdout in 12 years on July 31 -- keeping his promise not to report to training camp without a contract extension that would make him one of the NFL's top-paid wide receivers.

    Ward has one year remaining on a contract worth $1.66 million this season, but wanted guaranteed money that would put him in the upper echelon of NFL receivers. The two sides were believed to be at least $3 million apart on a signing bonus when talks broke down just before camp opened.

    Since Ward failed to report, several teammates made impassioned pleas for the team to re-sign Ward, with linebacker Joey Porter saying the Steelers "can't win without him." And running back Jerome Bettis said teammates were watching how the Steelers handled the Ward contract talks after the team asked several players in recent seasons -- including Bettis himself -- to take pay cuts to stay with the team.

    Ward's absence threatened to create a major distraction for a team that went 15-1 and played in the AFC championship game last season, and left quarterback Ben Roethlisberger without either starting wide receiver from his unbeaten rookie regular season. Plaxico Burress signed with the Giants during the offseason.

    The Steelers were so thin on receivers last week in camp with Ward gone and Antwaan Randle El hurt that fourth-round draft pick Fred Gibson, an unpolished rookie from Georgia, spent two days with the first unit.

    Ward, one of the NFL's top-blocking receivers, and Bettis have personified the Steelers' offense for years. Ward is within 33 catches of breaking Hall of Famer John Stallworth's team record of 537 receptions.

    Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
    He's @ the game tonite...wants to retire a steeler and is thrilled to be back...

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    Great - now he can commence his march towards Canton.

    han solo


    • #3
      What a bitch, and the only way he gets to Canton is by buying a ticket. He has only had 1 GREAT year (2002), one really good year (2003) and two above average years (2001 and 2004). Most defenses chose to double team Plexiglass Bareass last year and go man-to-man with Ward.