Steelers Spotlight: Hines Ward
Hines Ward’s beaming smile is iconic in the city of Pittsburgh. He was a legendary player on the Steelers team that contributed so much to the franchise. Looking back at his career, it is easy to see why his name will be remembered forever.
Ward had a difficult childhood, so when he decided to start playing football he heavily relied on the guidance of his coaches. He was able to showcase his skills as a quarterback at Forest High School and was named Offensive Player of the Year twice. At the University of Georgia, Ward plays as a wide receiver. He broke multiple records while he was there and helped take his team to the 1995 Peach Bowl. Ward entered the 1998 NFL draft and was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round.
Ward appeared in every game during his rookie season. He was the starting wide receiver by the following season. Ward was voted to the Pro Bowl for four consecutive seasons. He appeared in and won his first Super Bowl in 2005. At the end of the season, Ward had become the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver and was named MVP. He had multiple injuries over the next few seasons but would go on to win Super Bowl XLIII. Ward later became the first player in Steelers history to surpass 12,000 receiving yards. He also caught 1,000 receptions by the end of his last season in 2011. The Steelers cut and released ward after this season, and Ward retired in 2012.
While the Steelers have not officially retired Ward’s #86, they have not reissued it since his retirement. Ward was considered one of the best blocking receivers in the NFL. He earned three team MVP selections, four Pro Bowl selections, four consecutive 1,000-yard seasons, and two consecutive All-NFL teams. Since his retirement, Ward has opened a bar and restaurant, appeared on Dancing with the Stars and The Walking Dead, was a CNN studio analyst, joined the Alliance of American Football, and created the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation. In September of 2019, Ward was hired by the New York Jets as a full-time offensive assistant.
The awards have accumulated for Ward on and off the field. He has had an extremely successful career and is seen as a legend in the eyes of Steeler Nation. Ward still remains active in the football world and can be seen on the sidelines at the Jets’ games. His experience and knowledge about the game will continue to keep him involved in the football world.