Today, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers are set to release veteran wide receiver Hines Ward. While this move was widely anticipated as Pittsburgh scrambles to conform to the 2012 NFL salary cap – they have a stable of young wide receivers that relegated Ward to the bench at times in 2011 – it still comes as a shock to Steelers fans and Ravens fans alike to see the news finally made official.
Ward, or “Whines Hard” as many Ravens fans took to calling him (we took to calling him other things too – just none that are fit to print) was a thorn in the side of Baltimore for years. Pittsburgh fans loved his hard “crack-back” type blocks and his huge toothy grin that would follow, while we purple and black lovers talked ourselves blue in the face trying to convince anybody who would listen that the majority of his hits were quite dirty, and his smile was just his way of thumbing his nose at the opposing team and fans after knocking the snot out of another defender who just happened to be looking the other way.
As we bid Ward the bitterest of goodbyes, let’s look back at a few of his “highlights” from 2011, when it seemed that the Ravens were finally able to get the best of him instead of the other way around.