Report: Steelers Do Not Plan To Bring Back Hines Ward In 2012

Some interesting news tonight as NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora told NFL Total Access Friday night that Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward will not be back next season despite his willingness to take a pay cut. La Canfora states in his report that Ward has one year left on his contract, but my records indicate that Ward is signed though the 2013 season. He is scheduled to count $4.61 million against the Steelers 2012 salary cap right now with a base salary of $4 million. If the Steelers choose to terminate the contract of Ward, they will save $3.39 million.

Ward has said that he wants to play until the wheels fall off and has made it very clear that he is willing to take a pay cut to end his illustrious career with the only team he has ever played for since being drafted in the 3rd round of the 1998 NFL draft. Ward also has made it sound that he is willing to play for another team should the Steelers not want him back in 2012. It will be interesting if Ward or the Steelers quickly confirm or deny this story and La Canfora is really taking a chance again in reporting this.

Ward saw his playing time drop off severely in 2011, as he saw just under 500 snaps on offense. He suffered an ankle injury in week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals and it forced him to miss the week 8 game against the New England Patriots as a result. Ward also was knocked out of the week 9 game early against the Baltimore Ravens with concussion-like symptoms, but he did manage however to crack the 12,000 yard receiving mark in 2011 and recorded his 1,000th career catch as well in the last regular season game against the Cleveland Browns.

If indeed the report by La Canfora ends up coming to fruition, the Steelers might have their sights set at trying to retain unrestricted free agent wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery instead of Ward.

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • SteelCityMaineiac

    I still feel that Hines is an asset to the team and can continue to work with and mentor the young money receivers. I feel it would definitely be a classless move by the Steelers organization to cut Ward and retain Cotchery. That’s like a slap in the face to the man who’s given over a decade of His blood, sweat, and tears to his team. I have difficulty accepting the “It’s just business” aspect from a team who has benefited so much from Ward. Why not cut Willie Gay and a few other classless cancers to make up for the 4 Million Hines is owed and give him one final year?

  • SteelersDepot

    Gay is not under contract for 2012 as he is an unrestricted free agent.

  • Dgh57

    I’ll believe Ward will not be back when I see it said so on the Steelers web site!

    I hope he’s back because I would like to see him retire as a Steeler!!

  • Stan

    I really hate that it had to happen but the fact is that Hines is too slow even to be a possession guy anymore. Even at $1M next year, he’s still not good enough to put on the roster. He’s one of my favorite Steelers of all time but its time for him to hang ‘em up.

  • http://twitter.com/SteelerNan4 tracey cochran

    Not believing anything until an official announcement is made. Hines still can contribute to the team and make a difference. He has given his all for 14 years and deserves better treatment. He has offered to rework his contract to help with the salary cap. I’ve been an avid fan for as long as I can remember, but if this happens, I will never again be able to admire the Steelers organization or view them the same as I always have.

  • Wdmason

    Gay has played very well.

  • Emil Shemer

    Not liking the tone coming out of HQ these days.

    First the Arians retired lie (just be honest and say you don’t want him back), now getting rid of the man who has been your soul for all these years, especially when he said he’d take a cut in pay?

  • Dgh57

    I hear what you’re saying about Ward!

    Just think what the Colts fans are thinking with Peyton Manning and all he’s done for them!!

  • NW86

    Yes. Not to mention the fact that he’s done nothing to warrant being called a “classless cancer”. I agree with the rest of the post though.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YQVD6KD6MEMASTUHGCJQX2TLKI Stephanie T

    Mr. Rooney with us it is not just a business and shouldn’t ever be! We are Steeler Nation. We are unlike any other franchise and that’s a good thing. Keep him! He will take the cut in pay. KEEP HIM!!!

  • r4kolb

    Wow. This is a tough one. I think the question is did Hines really regress to the point of mediocrity or did Ben just fall in love with his young money receivers. If in fact it is that Hines has regressed that badly I, as much as I would hate to do it, would say it’s time to move on. The organization really owes it to the fans and the players to do what they can to put the BEST team on the field. If it does happen and Hines hooks up with another team I guess we will find that answer out. Here’s a scary thought Hines lining up against us as a Patriot or a Raven. Wonder if we could offer him a job as a receivers coach?

  • Barryb99

    I think he will play for the Falcons in 2012

  • Ken

    I agree, Not fair to judge Hines’ abilities from this past season. I think his injuries as well as Arians and ben’s penchant for passing the long ball is a big reason for Hines having a bad season. I mean Heath miller was a forgotten man this season too all because the offense abandoned the short pass. Wish Hines had at least one more year for the fans and him to play in a better offense system

  • John B.

    would it be cheaper to cut him and then sign him back or restructure?
    i just dont see how they can not even give him the number 6 spot now that Battle is gone.

  • David

    Watching him this season it looks like the wheels fell off. Where he used to grab a catch and battle for extra yards through defenders, this season he’d just go backwards. I love you Hines but I think it’s done. The organization already played him to his landmarks this season. How can anyone be mad at an organization who got the man his milestones by the end of the season when they would have been far better off in that game getting passes or hand-offs to younger guys who now bring more to the table. Don’t blame the organization who brought him into the game to get his HOF securing #s at the expense of winning. I never saw Hines look dominant in any situation this year.

  • David

    Not the expense of winning but the risk of losing.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5XBK7SSKCWKZ7F6RTJCVHABVI4 Steve Duncan

    Dumb idea. He still has enough left to help them, especially in the red zone where they sorely need it. Now they have no depth or veteran presence at WR unless they can re-sign Cotchery.

  • Dakota

    I want Ward back. Restructure him, and cut Foote or Farrior and restructure Hampton, along with others. There are other ways around this! Oh and cut Kemoeatu and Starks or Colon because we have to, otherwise i’d keep them both.

  • Katmo1969

    WELL IF YOU GUYS DO NOT BRING HINES BACK I GUESS THE FANS WILL HAVE TO PROTEST WE LIVE TO SEE HIS SMILE AND WATCH HIM DIRECT THE FAST MONEY BOYS DO NOT DO IT OWNERS OR YOU WILL HAVE A BUNCH OF PISSED OFF FANS YOU NEED US TO BE IN THE STANDS SO GET RID OF HIM WE REVOLT SO YOU TAKE YOUR CHANCES ON THAT I THINK WHEN YOU LOSE THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS YOU WILL MAKE A BETTER CHOICE ON WHO GOES AND WHO STAYS THAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH THE ROONEYS THEY GOT A CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM AND THEY DO NOT WANNA PAY OUT THEY ARE STARTING TO GET ON MY LAST NERVE

  • Leaderbob

    Let him go. He’s all washed up!!! I wish I could get paid $4,000,000 a year to sit on a bench.

  • Shaver

    I hope La Canfora is wrong. Is there a way to indeed release Hines from his current contract and re-sign him in mid-March?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/FVU2FQ4F2LX5TV7SZQFHONOODU PPCRO

    It always sucks to see a career end like this, but it had to be done. Even if the team kept him on at the league minimum for a 14 year vet, he would be making close to a million – not exactly money well spent for someone whose production with the team would fall off even more next season with a healthy Emmanuel Sanders in the lineup. Hines has had a chip on his shoulder since he fell to the third round of the draft, and I don’t think he was too thrilled with his declining role in the offense this past season. That said, he has broken almost every team receiving record, has two SB rings (and a SB MVP), and has has cemented his legacy as the toughest receiver ever to play in the modern NFL. He has nothing left to prove to anybody. Thanks for 14 great years Hines, see you in Canton!

  • Artualmo

    He is what steelers is about hard work dedication,love to the game and remember he is part of the history’s team,every truly steelers fan knows this.Hines Ward needs to finish his career with the steelers

  • Coalcracker

    There crazy if they drop Hines. He personifies Steeler football.

  • SteelBear59

    There’s more to the game than just catching the ball. Wines has always done all the things required to get the win! Excellent blocker, can pass the ball, still good enough for the defense to have to guard him – meaning a good decoy if that is what’s needed! These new talented players we have still have a lot to learn about the game that Hines can teach them! One more year – Go Steelers!

  • BoomDizzle

    Cut him…Franco Harris didn’t end his career with the Steelers. Rod Woodson didn’t end his career with the Steelers. Carnell Lake didn’t end his career with the Steelers. I see no reason to keep an aging Ward when Cotchery can be signed instead. The goal is to put the best team forward, not play a game of nostalgia.

  • JerryCola

    Seeing how the Steelers were giving Hines playing time over Cotchery in an attempt to get him 1000 receptions told me Hines would never play again after this past year. If they re-sign Cotchery and they should, then Ward is no better then a 5th WR and those guys are usually special teams players which Ward is clearly not. The Ravens jettisoned several older players last year to get younger and it was enough to catapault them over the Steelers this year. Steelers need to do the same along with shedding salary cap dollars.

  • Joe D

    Ward should just retire…

    Unless he is willing to be paid $1million… can’t afford $4million for a backup!!!

  • Steelers808

    Ward all the way!! Crotchery sucks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000160402095 Luke Brandle

    This would make me a sad panda. Hines is by far the most formidable WR4 in the NFL.

  • Monkin85

    hindes ward face of the steelers whats not to like find a way keep this man in some position
    wr coach , sounds like he’s taking a pay cut to stay doing his part

  • Monkin85

    call steelers office 412-432-7800 vioce opinion

  • RobR65

    Letting ward go is going to be a huge mistake he still have a-lot in him just restructure him and lower his salary like he said

  • Phill450r

    are you f***ing crazy people love heinz! 3 million dollars take it out of ben’s pay loosing heinz to save 3.3 million what the F!!!! You will loose so many fans and respect for the organization!!!

  • M Woodward

    thanks for the number! I called…hope it helps to keep Hines.