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Ward signs 4 year contract

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  • Ward signs 4 year contract

    Ward reaches terms on four-year contract with Steelers

    By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
    September 5, 2005
    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Wide receiver Hines Ward and the Pittsburgh Steelers reached terms Monday on a four-year contract, ending months of wrangling over a restructured deal less than a week before Sunday's opener against Tennessee.

    Ward missed the first two weeks of training camp -- the first veteran Steelers player to hold out so long since running back Barry Foster in 1993 -- and returned only because the franchise held to its policy of not negotiating with holdout players. The Steelers traditionally do not negotiate during the season, either, which led to a busy weekend of talks between agent Eugene Parker and the Steelers.

    The Steelers have not played since ending the preseason Thursday, but Ward stayed in Pittsburgh over the weekend as talks progressed, and attended the Notre Dame-Pitt game on Saturday night.


    While there was speculation during his holdout he might sit out as long as three months, Ward said he found it impossible to stay away once he saw his teammates practicing and the preseason games starting. He returned to the team less than two hours before its first exhibition game Aug. 15.

    ``I've been telling them to get this done,'' Ward said. ``I started my career as a Steeler and I want to end my career as a Steeler. I don't want to play anywhere else. This is a great football city. Why would you ever want to play anywhere else?''

    Ward had one year left on a contract he signed in 2001 before making the Pro Bowl each of the next four seasons. He was to have made $1.67 million this season, far below what most premier NFL receivers make and a salary barely among the top 40 at his position.

    Ward not only is one of the NFL's most proficient receivers -- he has four of the top five receptions seasons in club history -- he is widely regarded as the league's best blocking receiver.

    The Steelers' league-leading rushing offense intentionally structures some plays to run to his side because of Ward's ability to take cornerbacks out of a play and create an upfield running lane once a back clears the line of scrimmage.

    Ward, 29, became a skilled blocker despite also being used at quarterback and tailback at Georgia. He became a Steelers starter during his second season in 1999 and has caught at least 61 passes in every season but once since then. He averaged 95 catches over the last four seasons, including a franchise-record 112 in 2002, when he also had a career-high 12 touchdown catches.

    He had 80 receptions last season, his fewest since 2000, and four touchdowns as the Steelers ran the ball 61 percent of the time, but he was chosen for his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl.

    Ward has caught 505 passes in his career, 32 behind Hall of Famer John Stallworth's franchise record. His 6,055 yards receiving are second to Stallworth's 8,723 and his 37 career TD catches are tied for fifth. His 88 consecutive games with at least one catch, an ongoing streak that began in 1998, is a club record.

  • #2
    The coach of my fantasy football team is happy to have Hines back in camp.
    You're being fucking dramatic. You own a TV and an air mattress. That's not exactly what I'd call "a lot to lose."


    • #3
      I'm glad the Steelers did right by him, even if it took them months to do it.


      • #4
        Ward is a good egg. I never had any doubt they would get it worked out.
        Go Cards ...12 in 13.