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Topic: Hines Ward: Why Not Retire?
 Russ Bliss_108
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Joined: September 04
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Post Date: 03/01/12 12:42
The 2012 free agency period is approaching and the rumors and speculations about many players are growing to a dizzying height. A day doesn't go by that we don't read some new speculation about Peyton Manning, Mike Wallace, Peyton Hillis, Wes Welker, Marques Colston, Matt Flynn, etc. And with the scouting combine in the books, there's even more with Robert Griffin III, Andrew Luck, Ryan Tannehill, Michael Floyd, and the rookies. And while all these rumors and speculation is fun, it's also tiresome and makes me just wish free agency would get started and that the NFL draft was sooner than the last week of April.
 
Now some moves have happened and they were pretty obvious. Hines Ward being released by Pittsburgh was a move expected. Ward clearly isn't near the same player he was two years ago. At 36, he's lost all ability to separate from DB's, and with little speed, he just doesn't get open. The Steelers needed to make this move to help get them out of the salary cap predicament they are in as they have some priority free agents they need to try to keep and Ward's salary would have a been waste even at the veteran minimum. But whereas the organization and fans see the obvious, Ward appears to be in denial (common for many athletes at the end of their careers) and wants to try and prove he's got one more year left in him.
 
I hate seeing this happen to a guy like Ward. I long for the days when a player who has been in one city for his entire career retires when he no longer has the skills to be an asset to that team. I guess it's not a big deal, but it happens so rarely any more that when a guy who has put in a great career all in one spot, I really want to see him retire rather than have to be beaten over the head with the obvious truth. And the obvious truth with Ward is that he no longer can help a team as a WR. Maybe he could start moving in a direction where he gets involved in coaching, but on the field? He's hindering the development of younger WR's who need to craft their skills.
 
It was sad to watch Jerry Rice in 2004 as a Seattle Seahawk. It was sad to watch Franco Harris in 1984 as a Seattle Seahawk. It was sad to watch Shaun Alexander as a Washington Redskin in 2008. It was sad to watch Joe Namath as a Los Angeles Ram. There are many other examples of guys who tried to go for "one more season" when it was clear they had next to nothing left. And while we still remember these guys in their primes, playing at a high level, we also remember how sad it was to watch them cling to something they no longer had. It appears Ward is going to go down the same path.
 
But like with the others, I'll always think of Ward with his original team. No matter if he signs with a different team for the 2012 season, I'll remember him as a Pittsburgh Steeler. As one of those guys who wasn't the biggest, strongest, or fastest, but just got the job done at a high level for many years.
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On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
 DaBearsNic_98681
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Joined: August 09
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Post Date: 03/15/12 13:49
Agreed Russ.   I am expecting him to try and play with some random team this year and then be ceremoniously picked up by the Steelers for a 1 day contract so he can retire a Steeler.
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Gators, Blackhawks and Bears, oh My! Bear Down!
 Russ Bliss_108
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Joined: September 04
Total Posts: 19878
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Post Date: 03/21/12 12:41
While Ward may say that at the end of the day he couldn't envision himself in another team's jersey, I think the fact that nobody called him up to bring him in for a workout is more the reason he chose to retire.
 
But that's just my opinion. No matter what it was, I'm glad he decided to retire instead of being another one of those guys who refused to see what was obvious to others.
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On any given Sunday any fantasy team can beat another, only to still lose Monday night.
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