To Billy, From your friend, Shorty Slowman Sr..... Courtesy Super Bowl xl

‘The Steelers’ Hines Ward Can Stop Writing His Own Bad Press ’

Hines Ward’s accomplishments speak for themselves: 991 receptions. 12,027 receiving yards, 85 touchdowns, a 4 time pro bowl selection. Oh, and Super Bowl XL MVP. Those are regular season stats AND all were for his wide receiving skills. He has also returned kicks and punts. Hines ward has scored touchdowns rushing and passing too. It has been rumored that he took part in some kind of dance contest as well. In a league where a players’ productivity and reliability can come and go quicker than a Republican frontrunner, Hines Ward has done it all. The list of big time receivers that Hines has passed up statistically is impressive: Art Monk, John Taylor, Dwight Clark, and Chris Carter… It’s not that he has been anything but the ‘go to’ guy most of his career either. He hasn’t been hiding behind a Randy Moss or an Andre Johnson and picking up possession catches and check downs. Hines Ward is a legitimate Hall of Fame candidate that still has something left in the tank.
Conversely, talk of Hines Ward’s shortcomings usually comes from the man himself. “I am too short”. “I am too slow”. “I am too old”. Number 86 said that Ben Roethlisberger wanted for a taller receiver. What NFL team doesn’t want a little height on the edge? That wish in and of itself has no evil overtones except when repeated by Hines; then it sounds like Big Ben has it in for the little fella. When Ward was asked earlier this season if he noticed any decrease in his speed, he countered with a comment about never having any quicks to begin with. Hell, if Hines Ward walked on water he would write the headline himself: ‘Hines Ward Can’t Swim’.
Hines is having a great career! The Steelers are in the thick of the playoff race, could still win the AFC North, and are still in the conversation to go to the Super Bowl and lose to the Packers again. This is no franchise on the skids handing out charity to a hobbled dinosaur. Or is it? The Pittsburgh print and broadcast media has been buzzing with conspiracies to get Hines Ward the ball; to somehow placate the man and pad the stat sheet. The airwaves crackle with how the wide receiver screens to Ward against the Bengals were all part of the grand design to bloat his ego. It could have something to do with Cincy being really light in the cornerback department or that the wide receiver screen has been on heavy rotation in the playbook since Bruce Arians brought his fleshy face to Steel Town. If they wanted to throw Hines a bone at home and then send the Big Smile to the glue factory, then why play Charlie Batch in the fourth quarter? Allow Ben to stay in the game and feed the ball to Ward. Steelers Nation would understand and cheered that; especially against a division rival. But no, Ben and the thumb rested, and Hines Ward was not used in a mop up role. The Pittsburgh Steelers are not in the business of pumping up a grey beard’s stats. If they were, they would have kept Franco Harris around another season or two. Instead, Chaz the Great dropped the ‘What have you done for me lately’ turd in #32’s punch bowl and shuffled him off to Seattle (An attitude echoed by Janet Jackson a few years later when she shuffled sister, LaToya off to do a week of shows in Monroeville).
Hines Ward certainly has way more catches behind him than in front of him, and that’s a little sad. It is obviously a bitter sweet time for one of Pittsburgh’s most beloved personalities. Please keep in mind that all the statistics and respect don’t come at the dawn of an athlete’s career. They come in the twilight. Buck up, Mighty Mouse, December and January have always been your time to shine!

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