According to the Pittsburg Steelers president Art Rooney II, the team is set to release one of it’s former Super Bowl MVP wide receivers Hines Ward.
Rooney stated that the team will release Ward prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calender year and have informed him of their intentions. Ward was due $4.61 million if he stayed with the team for the upcoming season.
Ward has spent his entire career with the Steelers since being drafted by them in 1998 in the third round. With the emergence of wide receiver Mike Wallace, Ward has slowly been pushed out of the rotation.
Speculation began after the Steelers entered the offseason what the franchise would do with Ward. The Steelers are going full force in trying to retain Wallace after they feared they would lose him in free agency.
Rooney issued this statement concerning the release:
"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. He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years. Hines accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best."
Ward seemed to have lost a step or two in this past season. That combined with his age may make it difficult for him to find a team willing to sign him to a multi-year contract when free agency starts.