The Hines Ward Aftermath & What To Expect Next

Wednesday is a Leap Day that will never be forgotten in the eyes of many Pittsburgh Steelers fans as it will be remembered as the day that we all officially found out that veteran wide receiver Hines Ward would be released after 14 seasons of wearing the black and gold. Steelers beat writer Ed Bouchette reports that sources told him that Ward was not offered a pay-cut to stay and you can see that this was never about the money for the Steelers. Instead it was about whether or not they thought Ward fit into their plans going forward. Obviously they didn\’t. Several of you do not like the decision and are very angry right now, so all I can tell you is that in my opinion it was the right move and just part of the business of the NFL. We will never, ever, ever forget Hines.

Now that the cord has been cut, let\’s walk through what we should expect next and very soon at that. 😉 😉

After the Ward release the Steelers are down to just two wide receivers under contract that played for the team in 2011. They are of course Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders. Arnaz Battle, who was really just a special teams ace, was jettisoned a while ago and Jerricho Cotchery is an unrestricted free agent. Some guy named Mike Wallace is also a restricted free agent. Remember him? Now ask yourself this question. Do you really think they would have released Ward with any uncertainty lingering in their mind that Wallace would not be back in a Steelers uniform in 2012? Think about it. The reason they released Ward is because they know they have Wallace locked up. There will be no franchise tag. Their will be no first round tender. What there will be is a new contract. That has been my thought for some time now and I passed it along prior to the combine beginning.

Recapping my post from a while ago, Art Rooney II said Wallace would be a priority after the 2011 season, yet after all of this time, nobody believes him. General Manager Kevin Colbert emphatically said this past week at the NFL combine that they hold the cards in regards to Wallace and that both sides want him to return to Pittsburgh. Nobody seems to believe Colbert either. The Steelers have trimmed over $29 million off of the 2012 salary cap with surgical precision. They have been waiting to get the confirmed number of what the 2012 salary cap number will be, but you can\’t tell me that they, and every other team in the league for that matter, did not already have a pretty good notion as to what that number will be. This is the NFL for heaven sakes.

On the flip side, they had to get 100% confirmation on that official number before any more moves or new deals could be made. Before any tenders to the restricted free agents are made. It\’s great business practice. The ground work that is taking place this week has been paved for a few weeks now. They have that cap number now, and now the dominoes are beginning to fall. Ward was the first one to fall this week and there are sure to be a few more as well. Colbert admitted as much. One domino that will surely fall now is a new contract for Wallace before March 5th.

  • WeLoveHines

    i hate the releasing of hines, but now that the cat is out of the bag time for smith, hampton, and farrior to be cut…

  • Acenutso

    its been along time since the steelers had to breathe without it’s heart,
    say what you will…it’s not the right move…..i dont like it at all….and neither will my grandson
    and i wont like it opening day any better
    you have to go way back to find a steeler like him
    don’t even say bettis……no way
    i really think in modern day steeler history……you have to go back to woody and dawson
    and look how they screwed up with woodson
    hines is more to this team than just catches……and remember when someone gets hurt this year he’ll be somewhere else
    i really think if we’d have went to him on the final drive against denver there’d have been no overtime….and no loss
    it’s not like the man had nothing still to give…..rooney you should be ashamed
    your grandad wouldn’t have done it
    i go back to pitt stadium days as a kid…..had seasons since 79
    it’s not like i’m some young hot head……..this was done wrong… more year
    hines would have come into camp for a song……if he got beat out fine
    that everyone could have lived with….maybe even hines
    but this sucks…….i’m ashamed
    my tickets are headed for craigs list………i hate heinz field anyway
    i had better seats at three rivers…..this really sucks
    hines just please not afc……..the fans didn’t do this
    i couldn’t stand seeing you as a raven…..a brown, a jet or a pat
    this city loves you……more than art2
    i’m truely sorry
    it’s a sad day in pgh…..myron can’t be smiling
    i’m gonna miss you…my grandsons heartbroken….and mark my words…so will the steelers
    they will miss you before this season is done
    PittsburgLovesHinesWARD…….so do i

  • Bettykmaxwell

    What a boss! Hines has been the heart and soul of the offense for many years, and now that he’s getting “old” at 36, just kick him out! Don’t you think you owe him more than that? If you’d put more faith in him he’d have done as well as ever for you. I hope these new guys don’t love the team like Hines apparently does. And Rooney, I hope someone kicks YOU in the teeth one of these days.

  • 4eversteelrfan

    Its a bussiness lets not forget that, nobody will ever forget what he has done for the team but it was time you could see that all season long when he spent more time on the sideline than on the feild. Lets just hope that when he retires we can bring him back as a coach.

  • Dave

    Just because he’s a great guy doesn’t mean he can play forever. He was washed up at the end of last year. The Steelers bent over backwards to get him his 1000th catch. Tiime marches on and everyone retires from the NFL eventually. Very few guys retire on top…Jim Brown, Lynn Swann…almost everyone hangs on until they are forced to leave.

    The harsh reality is, this was the right move. (Along with Aaron Smith and probably Farrior and Foote too) Especially if it helps create the cap room to sign Wallace long term…and yes, when Wallace is old and slow, he’ll get cut too, that’s just the way it works.

  • Are you really trying to say that if the Steelers couldn’t sign Wallace that they would somehow decide that Ward was the answer?

    Not a chance. Ward simply cannot play any longer and the contract status of Wallace has zero impact on that or the Steelers ability to carry Wards salary or roster spot.

  • Bigk825

    The Steelers have always made smart moves during the drafts. They also have the tendency to make dumb moves by cutting players, Hall of Fame players who want one more year then retire, who go to other teams and are productive, then come back to beat us during the season. Remember, this is the team that cut Johnny Unitas, passed on Dan Marino, cut Woodson, Franco, etc. They expect loyalty from the players but give none in return. Oh yeah…that’s just business. I hope Wallace gets all he asks for, the Ravens sign Hines who then has two 100 yard games against us. After all it’s just business. The wrong Rooney is running the team.

  • Well gosh, Maybe you should apply to replace Colbert and show us how a football team is supposed to be run.

    Which Rooney is running the team, which Rooney do you want and which Rooney made the personnel decisions you are complaining about?

    Have another beer dude.

  • Glad there’s some voice of reason here. Of course we all love Hines but this was the right move. Does anyone here love Franco any less for going through the same thing?

    Acenutso…you and your grandson don’t run football teams for good reason. Rooney has nothing to be ashamed of, and while Art Sr. may not have done it… Art Sr. never won a championship while he was in charge. Dan would have and did do it with Franco, Rod Woodson, Faneca, and others.

    Yes it hurts, but you’ll get over it. Too many people take this too negatively. It was the right move.

  • kevin

    Get a grip on reality, please. Hines was paid millions of dollars to play. He earned his salary almost every year. He was essentially paid over $4 million last year (I know that I am counting a pro-rated signing bonus which was not actually received last year). It would have been great for him to return, but he was not worth what he was paid last year.

  • Misterirked

    I can no longer stomach being a Steelers fan after the release of Ward. It’s sad to see that an organization that is supposed to be classy shows no respect to loyalty.

    Releasing Ward may be the right business move at the moment, but you have lost one fan and probably more that will no longer root for the Steelers.

    Imagine if you worked for a company for 14 years and helped the company grow by being one of the best. You get offers from other companies, yet you decline out of loyalty. Then, as you reach a year or two from retirement and full benefits, you get fired because you are older and the company is hiring fresh meat out of college. This is what happened to Ward.

    Shame on the Rooneys.

  • Davidrussellg

    Money Ball sucks!!! The Rooney who made this blunder is the same as all of the big the NFL..People may say Hines wasnt the same player or he only had limited time on the field.Well guess what the guy you made those decisions is no longer a coach(Thank God ) good bye Bruce.He was the only reason Hines got demoted.A real bad choice nd a waste of talent.
    I was hoping they would release Hines and then resign him at a lower salary.But all I can say is I was born and raised in Pittsburgh and this really makes the Steeler head office look like JAG OFFS!!!!!!

  • Bettykmaxwell

    Someone said everyone will get over Rooney cutting Hines. That’s true, but isn’t doing the right thing by people the way to go? He’s still productive, tho maybe not as much, but you don’t just use somebody up and then throw them away! Unless you’re a football team owner!

  • Heniz Fan

    I can no longer stand being a Steeler’s fan after the release of my favorite player Heinz. I’m
    sure your going to lose alot more fans. I just can’t believe it.

  • PoKey21

    Hines was released before there could be any conflict with the new coordinator. Hines served the Steelers well and is appreciated by all. After 14 years though everyone looses a step. He did. The things he did not only on the field, but with the young WRs is miraculous. However this is the RIGHT decision by the Steelers front office. The Steelers are a consistent winner because of their front office. If our front office acted like a naive fan people would have a lot more to complain about. As it is though the front office tends to always make the right moves, and keeps the Steelers at a high level so most fans dont realize how good they have it. Loosing can happen all to easy with bad management, look across the street at the Pirates terrible front office they are consistent losers. The steelers front office is consistent winners. The Steelers arent one of the best in football just because they are from Pittsburgh, which is what most of the people on here seem to think.

  • chefjoey

    full of crap!!dan rooney made a blunder..and should stay out of football..bad move..danny boy

  • Huckleberry

    Hines was let go because he was done. I love Hines as a Steeler. He is an all timer, but this was a decision based on Hines ability to get open and be a physical presence. He was neither last year. He got beat up more than he beat up last year. I don’t think this has anything to do with Wallace. Hines was gone whether Wallace is back or not. I don’t think this in anyway indicates Wallace is a done deal.

  • Acenutso

    ya know…….a couple of days have past
    and i’m still pissed…..mad…..and disgusted
    after talking to many friends….no one liked this move….no one
    maybe his numbers were down……but it wasn’t from lack of effort from hines
    the three kids he worked with…..had taken some of his field time
    that’s a good thing right
    tell me art what’s the numbers, the value you put on a mans soul and heart
    on what that man means to your locker room , to the other players
    what is that worth to a team…..any team….especially a team that you want headed to another super bowl….this team
    teams will go out and look for a vet for that run…….
    you cut him…..cut him when he asked for the chance to play… lead…to help you win.
    apparently not much to you mr rooney…..think again, yes you should be ashamed

    could it have hurt signing him to min.contract
    bringing him to you think he would have let you down…..for giving him that chance to show what he still had in the tank…….and if he got beat out by some young kid….or some vet….fine…..he had a chance…this is hines ward you are talking about.
    wouldn’t he be better there than some rookie free agent from slippery rock or edinboro whose just a body in camp anyway….someone to throw to
    or what then if there’s an injury….to one of the young guys
    he’d be better than allstate wouldn’t he
    or how about using hine’s last season as a attack point…a point to go for getting hines one last super bowl win….hines last season
    yes something to give the upcoming season even more meaning
    like what was done with bettis last year….how’d that work out
    ah…..screw it…….who am i
    hines……there will not be many steelers loved as much as you(james and aaron you two aren’t far behind and will be missed, i think you each too have something still in the tank to be honest)(you will be missed as well really)

    i’ve bought two steeler jerseys in my life
    joe greene
    jack lambert
    and although i’ve bought hines jerseys for my daughter and grandson before
    next year i’m buying a #86 for me……you are one of the great ones
    you are a steeler….you are one of our family… least thats how it feels
    you will always be a steeler forever….and a part of our family
    i will miss you….(forgive them)
    so will another couple 100,000 plus other steeler fans
    and one little 8 year old boy who still talks about the day at camp when you road on a golf cart up to…..
    this little 4 year old boy at his first steeler camp decked out in his #86 jersey
    with his hines doll…. his hines football cards in his pocket and his brand new hines wood and gold plaque under the other arm…….. you slowed down….waved
    and yelled to him….”.how are you little hines”…….with that big damn smile on your face
    which was matched by that little boy who was beaming from ear to ear…and waving back
    as hard as he could…
    yes the whole ride back to pgh….. until he fell into steeler dreams asleep
    he kept saying
    “pappy did you hear him call me little hines?
    hines ward said i’m little hines…….
    pappy did you hear him…..”
    this is the man we lost……not just some 50 less catches a season…….the steeler
    a man of steel
    the heart of a team…the hero of an 8 year old boy
    and hero’s are hard to find
    hines ward… of the greatest receivers in steeler history
    hines ward……a man with something still left in the tank……that won’t be there for his team
    rooney… should be ashamed
    you really should be…..for not finding away that this great steeler could go out
    some way…….besides cutting him
    shame on you
    shame shame on you
    God bless you hines…….and thank you
    from me……another 100.000 plus members of steeler nation
    and an a 8 year old boy……who doesn’t understand why we wouldn’t want hines ward as
    a steeler again….his hero….i don’t know
    why don’t you tell me

  • Greggbarr86

    it wouldn’t of been a big deal if he would of just retired, i mean he said it himself one more superbowl as a steeler and im done. why not just stop with one more season as a steeler and im done. instead he gets cut and decides hes gonna play one more year.. im gonna be sooo pissed off if hines goes to a rival team who wouldn’t be. but if for example he goes to cards. 2012 superbowl steelers vs cards tie at 24-24 over time first play of ot hines comes out of nowhere like an angel and gets a 70 yrd touch down and gets named mvp.. just what if.. i wonder if art would commit suicide.. if i were rooney i would hang myself with a terrible towel from my box seat. all im trying to get across. hes always gonna be black and gold no matter what color he wears and the fans are gonna love him for giving 14 yrs of ass kicking to his opponents. <3 hines ward.. </3 hines as a raven brown pat or a colt i could live with myself if he went to cincin