Hines Ward On His Leadership Role: ‘I am kind of like the coach out there guys look up to and ask questions and what not.”
There isn’t a whole lot that Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward hasn’t accomplished during his 11 year career in Pittsburgh. He’s been to four Pro Bowls – despite playing on an offense that most years relies heavily on the run; he’s the franchise leader in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns; he was the MVP of Super Bowl XL; and he was the first and only Korean born player in the National Football League. He’s not done yet either, at least judging by his 2008 season. Ward caught 81 passes for 1,043 yards and 8 touchdowns . Ward joined 970 the Fox in Pittsburgh to talk about how he’s feeling coming off offseason knee surgery, how Ben Roethlisberger can still get much better, and about how he serves as a coach of sorts for the Steelers out there on the field.
On the competition at training camp and on how Ben Roethlisberger can continue to improve:
“We’re all great supporters of each other. But those guys will help push Ben to make him better. I mean, even though he’s won two Super Bowls, he still has a long ways to go to get to that elite status, you know, where he knows the game like the back of his hand. But he’s going to go out and continue to work hard; and Charlie’s still there; and the development of Dennis Dixon – all of those guys are going to come along together. I’m just excited to be a part of it because our playbook expands even more and expanding the playbook means more and more opportunities in the passing game.”
On if he has assumed more of a coaching role with the team:
“Somewhat, but at the same time, the talent’s going to showcase more than anything. My job is to make sure everybody has a proper understanding of where they need to be. Who’s hot, who’s not. But mainly, me just being on the field. I’m not going to sit there and nag those guys because I’m not hurt. I’m not going to catch every ball. Nobody’s perfect in this game. We’re all going to drop balls. But my job is just as a veteran guy, to lead by example. You know, I’m always out there catching after practice, getting some extra cardio. So it’s up to the other guys if they want to, I can’t make someone do something they don’t want to do. But, I am kind of like the coach out there guys look up to and ask questions and what not. And I have that rapport with Bruce Arians, being the offensive coordinator.”