Saturday, February 11, 2012

#242: Ward's Farewell

---SSL Broadcast #80---

14 seasons. 1000 receptions. 12,083 yards. 7 missed regular season games. Countless blocks. 1 rule nicknamed after him.

A report has recently come out saying that Hines Ward's career as a Pittsburgh Steeler is over.

As heartbroken as this may leave the black and gold faithful, letting Ward go is the right move.

For one, the Steelers need to free up salary cap space. Despite all the recent restructuring of contracts (e.g. Ben Roethlisberger, James Harrison), the team is still well over. The Super Bowl XL MVP is also on his final legs, and, while he was still effective at times in a limited role last season, it is better to cut ties when he still has a little "football" left in him, rather than keep him until he's completely out (to the detriment of the team).

On a related note, Pittsburgh's front office needs to do what it can to retain the services of its young and improving receiving corps. Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, and Emmanuel Sanders represents the next chapter of Steeler football. Over the last couple of decades, the Steelers have been adept at being progressive, rather than hanging on to the past (letting Joey Porter go, for example).

Ward's journey is not unique. Even Franco Harris spent a year in Seattle after an established Pittsburgh career. Wherever next season finds #86, everyone knows he's a Steeler for life.

On the most recent show:

- Steelers have a new offensive Coordinator.

- Pens get a player back just as they lose another as the injury-go-round continues.

- Pirates thinking about making a move for aging pitcher A.J. Burnett.

- Panthers basketball team is just an average to slightly-above-average squad, even with Tray Woodall.

- Steeltown Mike finishes the NFL season 21-23-1 (24-25-1 in two seasons) after missing his Super Bowl pick. And he couldn't care less. The Patriots lost and Chuck Noll still stands alone.



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