First many years ago it was Mel Blount that had the NFL making changes in order to make it easier for pass catchers to make plays. Now years later – we have the “Hines Ward Rule.” The rule, which the NFL will officially put in place in the 2009 season makes it illegal for a blocker to use his helmet, forearm or shoulder to hit a defender from behind or from the side.
“It’s a big honor, because it’s kind of weird how you can make an impact on the game,” Ward said. “At the same time, I’m not going to change my game based off a rule, because coach (Mike) Tomlin said just keep continuing playing the way you are. I’m going to continue being the fierce wideout going out there and blocking guys and continue to make plays.”
The Black and Gold were the only team to vote against the rule. The Steelers felt that it’s a judgement call, and places more pressure on the refs to make that type of call. Basically it seems like the hit that really got the ball rolling was the hit that Ward put on Bengals rookie Keith Rivers last October in Cincy that broke the rookies jaw.
“It’s kind of funny because week in and week out, that’s all we see is highlights of somebody getting blown up by a defensive player,” Ward said. “In my case it’s shunned or doesn’t look good or makes me a dirty player. I don’t do anything different than what they do to offensive players.”
Ward says he won’t change the way he plays the game, and why should he? Penalty or not, it’s those types of hits that has made Ward the player he is today.
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