Hines Ward is one of those players that had an impact on everyone he played with, played against, and everyone who watched him. He truly is a legend in Pittsburgh.
I became a Steelers fan in 2008. My mother has been a fan since the 70s during the Steel Curtain days. I decided to become a Steelers fan after watching them play so passionately during the 2008 season (in which they later won Super Bowl XLIII). No, I did not become a Steelers fan because of Rashard Mendenhall. And I’m not related to him either, for those that may be curious.
There was one guy “in the black and yellow” that stood out to me. He smiled after every reception. He smiled when he dropped the ball. After every play, he was SMILING. When he caught the ball, he smiled. When he dropped the ball, he smiled.
Hines Ward has left a great name for himself in the sports world. He is the Pittsburgh Steelers’ all-time leading receiver. Not only can he catch, but he’s even appeared in films like “The Dark Knight Rises,” and TV sitcoms such as Dancing with The Stars and AMC’s The Walking Dead.
Ward finished his career with 85 touchdowns, with an 85-yard pass from Roethlisberger being his longest catch (against the 2005 Patriots). Did I also forget to mention he was the MVP for Super Bowl XL (21-10 win over the Seahawks)?
He was the 92nd pick in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft from Georgia. I was only 3 years old and about to start playing my first sport (tee-ball) the next year.
But here’s the catch (pun intended) and one question I had while watching him later in his career. After being drafted in the same class as Randy Moss (who was a first-rounder), how did he become so successful even though he wasn’t the fastest?
Then I thought about myself. I wasn’t the fastest athlete. I wasn’t the most successful or most popular, but I showed up to every game and was a TEAMMATE. That’s who Hines Ward was in my eyes. Even when he made me mad (when he dropped balls and showed his pearly whites afterward, because HE KNEW he should have completed the pass), I had nothing but love for him. I still do.
After retiring, we all know he became a coach with the Jets for a brief stint. Then, he became the Wide Receivers coach at Florida Atlantic. Florida Atlantic just finished 5-7 overall for the 2021 season.
There’s word out here from another writer, Claudine Zap, that he’s looking for a new owner for his $2.6 million estates in Boca Raton, Florida. A lake within walking distance, a grassy lawn, and luxury bedrooms? Yeah, I’d smile about that too.