Connect with us

Free Agency

Steelers Announce They Will Release WR Hines Ward

The Steelers announced that long-time wide receiver Hines Ward will be released.

“We had a conversation today with Hines Ward and informed him that we plan to release him of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year,” Steelers President Art Rooney II told the team’s website.

“Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998 and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve. He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years. Hines’ accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best.”

Ward turns 36 next month and is coming off a season where he started nine of 15 games, catching 46 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns. All of those numbers were Ward’s lowest totals since his rookie season as Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown emerged as the team’s top receivers, with Emmanuel Sanders supplanting Ward as the No. 3. The Steelers were able to get Ward his 1,000th reception in the regular season, and the four-time Pro Bowl has gained 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns during his 217-game NFL career, with each totals representing the most in Steelers’ history.

Ward was due $4 million in base salary with a $4.61 million cap number. Releasing Ward will clear $3.39 million from the Steelers’ 2012 salary cap.

Matt Loede has been in the sports media for over 16 years, with experience covering the MLB, NBA, and NFL. On Sunday’s during football season, you can hear Matt on national networks like Fox Sports Radio, Associated Press, and others. Born and raised in Cleveland Ohio, Matt studies and talks football inside and out, and is anxious to share his thoughts and comments with readers on a daily basis.



  1. Ed Nestor

    February 29, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    Will miss you Hines but all good things come to a end. We need to let Farrior go also. Time has a way of catching up with all of us. Steelers need to rebuild while trying to stay competetive. A few lean years would get us back on track while Ben will still be there.

  2. Ben Dover

    February 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    I don’t like the move. Where is the type of loyality for Hines the Steelers showed to Jerome Bettis, or even more recently Aaron Smith?

    If their goal is to begin re-tooling the team then trade Mike Wallace for a first-round pick in this season’s draft, and go with Brown, Sanders, Ward, and Cotchery as the receiving corps.

    • Lynne

      February 29, 2012 at 11:12 pm

      I totally agree with you Ben, the way they handled this whole situation was disgusting. Hines deserved better treatment for all the years he gave us. I hope they have to beg him to come back because Wallace is all about the money & he certainly can’t block even close to what Hines brings to the game!!!!!!!!!!!

      • jay

        March 1, 2012 at 1:21 pm

        Wallace is soft, SOFT, SOFT, Soft and I’d say it to his face because he’s… SOFT! A dead president coupon holder! “Can’t feed my family!” mumbo-jumboer! I’d administratively shove my foot up his ass so far that his smile would look like the Nike woosh or whatever it’s called. Wallace can go fuck himself and I am personally rooting for him to get injured as of right now!

  3. Dave B.

    February 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Hines Ward was an all time great and his spot in Canton is being reserved for him as we speak . However , when it comes to loyalty that aint going to happen with the Steelers . When the Steelers think youre at the end of your career and the gas tank is nearly empty , youre gone , period ! Dont believe it ? Just ask Hall of Famer and four time Super Bowl champ Franco Harris . In 1984 they sent him packing after twelve years and four championships . Thats the way they operate and every player to wear the black an gold knows it going in .

    • Ben Dover

      March 1, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      “when it comes to loyalty that aint [sic] going to happen with the Steelers.” Your assessment of the Franco Harris situation is flawed, the Steelers didn’t released Franco because they thought his talent had weigned, he was cut because he was in a contract year and wanted too much money. They did the same thing with Gary Anderson. They released Rod Woodson because he was dealing with knee problems that were affecting his mobility. Other than these three instances I can’t cite another player to to support your claim.

      The list of players the Steelers showed loyalty by keeping them after their best days were over, and let them go out on their own terms include:

      G Sam Davis
      G Gerry Mullins
      C Ray Mansfield
      WR John Stallworth
      RB Rockey Bleier
      DE LC Greenwood
      LB Andy Russell
      LB Loren Toews
      CB Dwayne Woodruff
      S Donnie Shell
      S Mike Wagner
      C Dermontti Dawson
      RB Jerome Bettis
      DE Travis Kirschke
      DE Aaron Smith
      NT Chris Hoke

  4. ben spiridigliozzi

    February 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    What can I say . The Steeler organization is just plain ignorant, they did it with Franco, Woodson and now Hines and for the past 5 years have been trying their best to get Big Ben killed. They are no longer the Black and Gold but the black and money-hungry old! I hope they lose Wallace too, and Troy better start looking over his shoulder(well head and shoulders) his time is coming!

    • Ben Dover

      March 1, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      I agree with you in principle, however, Franco Harris wasn’t released because they thought his talent had diminished, he was cut because he was in a contract year and wanted too much money. They released Rod Woodson because he was dealing with knee problems that were affecting his mobility.

  5. Mark

    February 29, 2012 at 9:32 pm


  6. Wendy

    February 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    That’s just wrong. The whole organization just went downhill in my opinion. How can they do that to someone so loyal, who would do anything to stay? Mr Ward still has a lot of football in him–a lot of leadership. I love the Steelers, but….

    • Lynne

      February 29, 2012 at 11:14 pm

      I agree, they have lost a lot of respect from fans for the way they are treating the players/coaches. We need Mr. Rooney back & put this ship in order again!!!!!!!!!!!GO STEELERS

  7. The Tony

    March 1, 2012 at 12:01 am

    Let’s not be too hasty, keep in mind this is a business first. In order to gain more cap room this was a needed transaction. Hines knew going into the offseason that if he did not retire then he would be released. I am sure there is no hard feelings on both sides. I am ok with this move since Hines’ productivity dramatically decreased. It is now time to lock up Wallace.

  8. Steelfan

    March 1, 2012 at 5:07 am

    I love Hines too but management made the right decision. He just can’t run anymore. If they brought him back in 2012 his role wouldn’t be much different than last season, and 4th or 5th receivers need to play special teams. He can’t. Thank you Hines for all the years, you were one of the best!

  9. George H

    March 1, 2012 at 11:20 am

    Wouldn’t be surprised to see 86 back with the steelers for the league minimum. The Tony has it right… the NFL is a business, so for all the fans here commenting that its disgusting the the FO cut Ward, lets be real here. Who here last season even thought of Ward when Brown and Wallace were making big plays and Ward was on the bench. I’ll miss Ward too and be grateful for all the great memories, but c’mon everyone, some of you would really have one more bad year of Ward or potentially 4-5 more stellar years of Wallace? Sometimes these things happen in sports, but next season when Wallace goes for a 75 yard td bomb and all of you fans cheer him on, dont forget that cutting ward and getting the cap room lets that happen.

    • jay

      March 1, 2012 at 1:25 pm

      Wallace disappeared last 6 weeks, bra…Because he’s soft both mentally and physically. With Brown emerging, Wallace should done more but all he could think of was probably, “Why they ask me, a pretty boy, prima donna, to go over the middle?!? I run deep routes, man fuck that!” Don’t believe me, look at the tape!

      • George H

        March 1, 2012 at 10:35 pm

        First off bra… Brown’s emergence last season, although very timely, can be credited to being able to run underneath routes while wallace got double-teamed every play. 6 weeks is a small sample size in his short career, although it is worrisome, I fully expect Wallace to reemerge as one of the elite receivers this season. Wallace has that potential to take our passing attack to the next level, however it is a shame though that Ward won’t be around to show Wallace how to be the leader he needs to be.

        • George H

          March 1, 2012 at 10:36 pm

          And you can’t assume thats what Wallace would say… thats amateur status bra!

          • Jay

            March 2, 2012 at 9:57 am

            Well I guess we’ll see then wont we? U guys were all about Willie Parker too who was also a joke! He wasn’t a character joke like Wallace is but more of a talent joke. I just can’t get how many of u fans get behind players like this?! Walkace did come out and say that he would not be able to pay his family or something ridiculously along those lines— amateur status would be if I were actually quoting him. Those quotes were my personal interpretation of his character, wgich I’m entitled to. Sorry but I refuse to root for prima donnas at the WR position who have a sense of entitlement, are Physicalky soft and who disappear when it matters. If six games is too small a sample size sycophant, then watch baseball where I’m sure ur pirates will give u plenty to puke about in 6 or 60 games!

    • DrGeorge

      March 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm

      Well said, George H. But I doubt Hines will back. He seems intent on catching on somewhere else. At age 36, playing for a lesser organization, Hines could get himself seriously injured or permanently brain damaged. I hope he simply retires or segues into coaching. He doesn’t need the money.

      • Jay

        March 2, 2012 at 9:58 am

        Was that well said, Doc?

        • George H

          March 2, 2012 at 10:49 am

          Im sure you weren’t cheering for Willie when he ran for the longest superbowl run in SB history. I’m also sure you dont root for Wallace when he has big touchdowns. You have to realize Jay that football is a team sport and on that team there are going to be players with different personalities. Of course there are going to be different players with character flaws, thats to be expected. However, you cant just assume that Wallace is comparable to the other PreModonna WRs. Instead of bashing on Wallace, why not pull out your Microsoft Thesaurus and display your anger out on a player who actually deserves your ridicule like Maurkice Pouncey. A very talented player who also has a nack for missing big games and going into a war of words with his twitter followers, but I digress.

          Back to Willie Parker, an undrafted free agent not expected to break out the way he did onto the football scene. 2005, played in 15 games and gained 1200 yards. 2006, played in 16 games and gained just under 1500 yards. 2007, played in 15 games and gained 1300 yards. After that his body couldn’t take the beating of the NFL anymore and had a decline in 08′ and was released the following season to make room for Mendy, a younger and more talented player at the time to get more carries. This is exactly what the NFL teams do, when a player’s best days are behind him, they let that player go for the future of the team. We all would like to see Ward back, however his best days are behind him and the team has to move on. Consider it a cap casualty if you want, but in the NFL, much like any other business, there isn’t a whole lot of loyalty.

          • George H

            March 2, 2012 at 10:51 am

            and lets be honest, the Pirates and Steelers are worlds apart as organizations. I still love them and will root for them every year, but it does get hard to be a Buccos fan

          • Jay

            March 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm

            Preaching to the choir George, I totally get the dynamics of pro sports and my sentiment toward what Hines has done is mutually exclusive from both wanting him bak AND mike Walkace. I just fell out if favor with Walkace because he does pkay a premadonna position unlike poincey and I’m sick if WR’s adopting this pay me or it’s the highway attitude! To say Walkace hasnt started to fall off into that soft, entitled category means u haven’t been paying attention. And Parker is was not that talented ! He had straight ahead speed and nothing else. Instead of falling back on statts like most paper champions, go look at the tape! Use ur own eyes when u watch a game. There’s this polarizing dichotomy between Phil fans who say our team sux, fire everyone and Pitt fans who say, everyone in black and gold is a God and can do no wrong. It’s quite nauseating! Somewhere in the middle lies the objective truth! Why do u think they tendered Wallace in lieu of franchising him? Because there’s teams out there like NE who are now in a serious quandary because they’re saying, do we give up a first round pick and add him to our arsenal or not. It’s brilliant on steelers end to dangle him like that…if we was all that, they wouldn’t a tendered him but rather franchised or extended! Take off rose colored glasses especially for players who could care less about u and rest of fan base!

  10. Steve Geddes

    March 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    We need Hines out there who else SMILES after getting pounded no matter how hard the hit is. He ask made all of us smile that bleed Black & Gold we need him!!!

    • That Guy

      March 3, 2012 at 1:43 am

      Your mom smiles after a hard pounding

  11. Mike

    March 1, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    There are a lot of happy DBs in the league who can rest easy knowing that they won’t have their lunch handed to them when they get ear-holed from one of Ward’s bone crunching blocks. Here’s to one of our future HOF residents. Anyone who thinks that Ward is not deserving of a spot next to Swann and Stallworth in Canton just doesn’t get it.

  12. George H

    March 4, 2012 at 4:50 pm

    Understandably so about Parker Jay, my point was that he had great value for being an undrafted free agent. His role was to be the burner and he utilized his speed well.

    I also agree with tendering Wallace, first off it allows the team to gauge teams interest in the market, as well as potentially being able to sign him by matching an offer less than what the franchise tag would cost.

    Plus to question whether or not I watch the games objectively is a laugher. I follow my team, dont get emotional, and keep a straight mind when analyzing the game. The emotional fans are the ones hurt by letting Ward go, check my posts, its very objectively speaking on the business decision over the emotional in Ward’s case. Plus, how many times do you blow up the wall during a game writing in all caps and immaturely bantering with Crowley?

  13. Pingback: Steelers Announce They Will Release WR Hines Ward | Pittsburgh Steelers | News, Forum, Photos, Highlights, Scores, Schedule, Blogs, Mock Drafts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *





Sports Gab Network

Show Your Team Spirit

Shop the newest Pittsburgh Steelers fan gear at Fanatics!

Get Your Steelers Tickets

Pittsburgh Steelers Tickets

Steelers Gab Newsletter

Sign up to receive our Steelers Gab newsletter, and keep up to date with all the latest Pittsburgh Steelers news.

Recent Comments


More in Free Agency