After reading comments over the past 24 hours, it seems like Hines Ward is going to return to the field for 2012, and he wants it to be with the Steelers.

As far as coming back as the 5th or 6th WR for the Black and Gold in 2012, Ward is going to have to take a pay cut to do it. There’s no chance the team is going to pay him what he’s due for 2012. Ward has two years and $4 million left on his contract, and said Tuesday that he would be open to taking a pay cut to stay with the Steelers.

“I’d probably have to restructure my contract,” Ward said of the pay cut. “That’s fine with me. I recognize that. I’m telling you I want to be here, I’m telling you I’m willing to do that. And I understand the ramifications — we have the cap number and stuff, but I want to be here.”

The other issue is his role. He’s no longer a starter, and it doesn’t look like that will happen again in 2012. The 35-year-old, four-time Pro Bowler is the Steelers’ all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yardage (12,083) and touchdown catches (85). He’s one of only eight NFL receivers all time to reach 1,000 receptions.

Ward says he’s not going to complain about not being out on the field at the start of games.

“Obviously, I was a starter, and then it went the way it did. That’s fine, I don’t have a problem with not starting. But I want to play, I want to try to win another Super Bowl. I want to do it for this organization. I want to help this team out. I still think I can help this team, on the field, off the field with the younger guys, still be there for the team. I’m willing to do all that.”

It sounds more and more like the future for Ward is all in the hands of the Steelers.

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