Steelers.com is reporting this afternoon that the Pittsburgh Steelers will be releasing veteran wide receiver Hines Ward prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar which is a week from Tuesday. It has long been speculated following the end of the 2011 season that Ward would not be retained in 2012. Steelers President Art Rooney II told the Steelers.com. "Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998 and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve. He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years. Hines’ accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best."
Ward spent all of his 14 seasons in the NFL with the Steelers after they drafted him in the 3rd round of the 1998 NFL draft out of Georgia. Ward played in 217 regular season games for the black and gold and recorded 1000 receptions for 12,083 receiving yards. He also totaled 85 career regular season receiving touchdowns for the Steelers. He was voted to the Pro Bowl four times during his time in Pittsburgh and was named the MVP of Super Bowl XL.
Despite his willingness to renegotiate his contract, the Steelers have chosen to move on. He was under contract through the 2013 season and scheduled to count $4.61 million against the 2012 salary cap. His termination will create a dead money charge in 2012 of $1.22 million, so the Steelers will essentially save $3.39 against the 2012 cap.
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