Steel­ers tell Ward he will be re­leased

The Washington Times Daily - - Sports -

PITTS­BURGH | Hines Ward’s con­stant, ear-to-ear smile tucked be­hind a black face mask has been a last­ing im­age for Pitts­burgh Steel­ers fans the past 14 sea­sons. They won’t see it again. A four-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion who holds fran­chise records for re­cep­tions, re­ceiv­ing yards and re­ceiv­ing touch­downs, Ward, 35, will be re­leased by the or­ga­ni­za­tion that drafted him in 1998.

“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 said in a state­ment Wed­nes­day on 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.”

A four-time Pro Bowl se­lec­tion, Ward will fin­ish his Steel­ers ca­reer with 1,000 catches, 12,083 yards and 85 re­ceiv­ing touch­downs. He helped Pitts­burgh to three AFC cham­pi­onships and two Su­per Bowl ti­tles.

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