One of the big questions about the offseason is the future of WR Hines Ward, and if he will come back in 2012. Mike Freeman of CBS reports that he was texted from a Steelers player who thinks that Sunday’s loss to the Broncos was indeed Ward’s last game.

Did Hines Ward play his last game? It appears he might have. A Steelers player texted to me the expectations around the team was that Ward would soon announce his retirement. That doesn’t mean it’s set he will. That means some Steelers players believe it which means it’s likely to happen.

Ward is a different sort of dude. He could decide to hang on for one more year. But for the moment that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Ward is clearly done physically. He just doesn’t have the burst he once did. He was held without a catch against the Broncos and has become an afterthought in the Pittsburgh offense.

Yet, to me, he’s a sure Hall of Famer. He became only the eighth wide receiver to reach 1,000 catches, had a lengthy and productive career, and won championships. He was one of the toughest receivers I’ve ever seen. And it appears we’ve seen the last of Ward in the NFL.

If Ward does decide to come back, will the Steelers want him back? They have clearly phased him out of the offense, and the teams future is set at the WR spot without Ward. That may come into play in him making his decision.

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