If Sunday’s loss to the Denver Broncos was the final game of Hines Ward’s career in the National Football League, then it certainly was not a fitting way to go out. The Steelers lost of course, but Ward also played sparingly and finished the game with 0 catches. On Monday, after the first report surfaced that said Ward was considering retiring, the Steelers veteran wide receiver took to his Facebook page to refute such speculation and to say he had no intentions of retiring. On Tuesday, Ward joined the air in Pittsburgh to talk about the end of the season and to field questions about his future. Let’s see what he has to say having had another day to internalize the season and what he’d like the future to hold for him. Ward joined 970 ESPN in Pittsburgh to talk about how he doesn’t know where reports of his pending retirement are coming from, his frustration that the Pittsburgh media fabricated those reports rather than letting him be the one to let his fans and the city know about his plans, the disappointing end to the season for the Steelers in Denver last Sunday, wanting to return with the Steelers and being willing to restructure his contract to do so, and what his offseason plans are.
“I would hope after 14 years here that the Pittsburgh media would at least let me hear it from the horse’s mouth before they make accusations like that. And the more and more I keep hearing that I’m retiring, I’m like ‘man, who told you that?’”
On being frustrated by the inaccurate reports:
“I mean, I don’t want to leave my fans or the city of Pittsburgh up in the air about it, which is why I kind of got frustrated. Everywhere I went and looked, there were all these reports of people saying I’m retiring, I don’t know, it’s just something that sells papers and is something to talk about while they’re at work.”
On the disappointing end to the season and not wanting to play for a different team other than the Steelers:
(The Steelers are out of the playoffs, but eight teams remain in the hunt. Check out the latest odds and all the Super Bowl betting action at Top Bet). “For me, it was a disappointment of course not going to the Super Bowl. I was with some of the guys last night, we can’t even watch SportsCenter. Every time we looked on there, we’d see Tebow and it just killed us. I know a lot of guys are coming up on their contract, we’ve got a bunch of young nucleus guys, but for me, I couldn’t even fathom putting on another uniform. So for me, I’ll probably have to restructure my contract, there’s no question about that. But at this point for me, it’s about winning Super Bowls, and I want to be here with the team to do that, I don’t want to join a different team to try to do that, or put on a different uniform. That’s why I was shocked by all the reports that I was going to retire. That was absurd to me to hear that coming from the Pittsburgh media when I’ve never announced anything.”
What his offseason plans are:
“For me, I’m going to get my ankles cleaned up, I need my ankles scoped on because it’s nagging, I’ve got some loose bone spurs in my ankles and stuff and that’s been a problem all year long. Once I get that cleaned up, I’ll just be going out and working out, trying to heal up and mentally just get away. But this year, for me, it’s been a long year. We went all the way to the Super Bowl, which is in February and lost, and then I went straight to Dancing With The Stars, and did that for like 12 weeks and thanks to all of Steeler Nation came out of that with the Mirror Ball Trophy. And then I had thumb surgery, so I missed a large majority of training camp. Then coming into the season, the way the season went, going 12-4. So it’s just been a long, emotional ride for me, so I’ll just get away, recharge the battery and get ready to make another run next year.”