Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward was a guest Friday evening on Pro Football Talk and was asked to name the four people that he would put on the organizations\’ version of Mount Rushmore. The first name out of Ward\’s mouth was Art Rooney Sr., and he followed it up by naming Chuck Noll, Franco Harris and Joe Greene as his choices for the Steelers fictitious monument.
“You probably have to start off with of course with the Chief, Mr. Art Rooney – the founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers,” said Ward. “For the Pittsburgh Steelers it starts at the top, and from Dan (Rooney) to Art (Rooney II), they\’ve always done it their way. They\’re not really big on going out and getting free agents. They\’re really high on building through the draft and building their team by the draft process.”
It is certainly hard to disagree with Ward\’s choices, as only Harris would likely be debated by Steelers fans worldwide. Ward was also asked during the interview to name his favorite team that he played on during his 14 years in Pittsburgh, and while he had the year wrong, he was of sound mind with his reasoning.
“It would probably have to be the 2001 Pittsburgh Steelers, when I think it was Ben\’s (Ben Roethlisberger) rookie year, and I think we finished 15-1,” said Ward. “I just thought we had all the pieces there. Our defense was solid – they were ranked No. 1. We had Joey Porter, Jason Gildon – those guys leading the defense. Jerome (Bettis) was running the ball like crazy. Plaxico Burress and I, we was a great tandem for each other, and then Ben came into a great situation where he had a great supporting cast. We just fell short to the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game.”
Ward was later asked to name a Steelers player who will never be on the Mount Rushmore and is underrated.
“There are a couple of guys,” said Ward. “Of course I\’m a little biased; I love Alan Faneca. I just think he epitomized our offensive line. He was kind of the Mike Webster, Dermontti Dawson type of player on the offensive line, because we were always known as running team. Alan Faneca is one of those guys that helped those guys pick up a lot of yards throughout the season.”
When asked who he thought was the single best player that he played with while with the Steelers, Ward went with “The Bus” as his choice.
“For me, it was Jerome Bettis,” said Ward. “To be that size, he was just so massive. Now he\’s even bigger than he was when he played. He still had the great footwork and the power. Me looking back on Jerome\’s career, there\’s one play that stood out to me – when he ran over (Brian) Urlacher to help our team win those last four games and make it to the playoffs and go on our run all the way to Super Bowl XL. So that\’s a play that will always stick in my mind of what Jerome represents for our team.”
If you missed the interview, I have included it below.