NFL.com reporter Jason La Canfora joined 93.7 The Fan Tuesday morning to answer questions about his Friday evening report that stated Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward would not be back with the team in 2012.
When he was asked if he still was convinced that Ward would not be back after GM Kevin Colbert announced on Tuesday that no decision on Ward has been made, La Canfora said, “Yeah, I do based on everything I\’ve heard. You\’re talking about someone who\’s maybe their 4th or 5th best option at wide receiver, someone who\’s not going to be able to do much on special teams and someone who is set to make $4 million dollars, and this is a team that is still roughly $12 million over the cap. They\’ll get under, they\’ll restructure Ben and they\’ll restructure Troy and maybe do one or two other things, but they also need to add. They also know they\’re about to start sinking a lot of money into the wide receiver position.”
La Canfora later added, “You look at the payroll situation there and you look at how little Hines played down the stretch and you look at the history of the Pittsburgh Steelers, which is self scouting and knowing when it\’s time to walk away from certain players, no matter how much your emotions and your heart tell you otherwise, yeah, I don\’t see Hines Ward back there. When pressed further, La Canfora did not rule out the Steelers releasing him to get cap relief and bringing him back at the veteran minimum.
The more La Canfora talks about the Ward situation, the more it sounds like just mere speculation then it does him having a source inside the Steelers organization telling him that indeed Ward will not be back. While Ward certainly might indeed have his contract terminated over the course of the next several weeks, I think the Steelers are still examining all of the options that they have. Time as they say will tell.