Hines Ward, the Steelers’ all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and 100-yard receiving games, will soon be released, the Steelers announced today on their website.
“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, Steelers.com. “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 was a third-round pick of the Steelers in 1998 out of Georgia. In 14 seasons, he was the team’s all-time leader with 1,000 catches for 12,083 yards, 85 touchdowns and 29 100-yard games. He’s the eighth player in NFL history to reach 1,000 career catches, and joined Hall of Famer Jerry Rice as one of only two players in NFL history to have 1,000 catches and win multiple Super Bowls.
Ward was the MVP of Super Bowl XL after leading the Steelers to a 21-10 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. He posted a game-high 123 receiving yards on five receptions with one touchdown.
The Steelers’ 2008 Walter Payton Man of the Year, Ward was named to four Pro Bowls (2002-05) and was a member of the team’s 75th Season All-Time Team.