Hines Ward contributes every Sunday on the football field. As one of the best blocking receivers to ever play the game of football, Hines Ward is well known for his physical presence and that incessant smile hit after hit after hit. For what Ward lacks in explosiveness, he makes up for with his dependability and heart. And that dependability and consistency of catching passes from guys like Tommy Maddox and Ben Roethlisberger has helped him climb the ladder among some of the NFL’s great receivers.
This Sunday Ward caught at least one pass for the sixth consecutive game this season. Ward is known for his catch streak that spanned 186 games – putting him 4th all time on that list. That streak ended during a heart wrenching lost to the Pats last season. He has surpassed Steelers great John Stallworth for receptions and total yards. He was the Super Bowl MVP in SBXL with his touchdown catch that came from ARE. On and on and season after season, Ward makes his case for one of the greatest Steelers to ever play in a black and gold uniform and certainly makes his case for Canton.
On this particular Sunday against the Jags, Ward reached another rung on that ladder of achievements. Ward caught three passes for 47 yards to move past Michael Irvin and into 19th place on the yards receiving list. His total yards now is 11,939. Ward is on pace for just over 600 yards this season. Certainly one of his lowest productive seasons statistically. However, even that amount could bump him two more spots up the ladder past Charlie Joiner and Jimmy Smith. Should Ward play out through his contract (and assuming he gets about 600 yards per), he could potentially reach the top ten. Tory Holt sits there at 13,382. That’s a bit aways right now for Ward, but not unreachable. Should he reach Holt, he certainly would grace the halls of Canton – as well he should even if he lands only 12th or 13th on the all time yards list.
Ward is a great wide receiver and will always be remembered for his style of play. He has been an advocate in the community and has broken through racial barriers over the course of his career… hell, the guy is even an ambassador. And, of course, he’s one Dancing With the Stars. The man is a winner on and off the field. I’m excited to see how far he will go with his statistical achievements until he hangs up the cleats. Hopefully, the Steelers will bring home a couple more Lombardi trophies home while he’s still around.