With Baltimore Ravens’ linebacker Ray Lewis winding down his legendary career with the chance to go out on top, it makes you think about Pittsburgh Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward and how he didn’t get that opportunity.
Ward is the guy you think about the most when you talk the Steelers-Ravens rivalry and the fact that Ward didn’t get to go out on his terms has left him a little disappointed and irritated.
“I’m a little disappointed how it ended because it wasn’t my idea how to end things,” Ward told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “But that’s part of the business. I still think about how it went down, and I look at Ray Lewis having the opportunity to walk off the field in Baltimore. I never had that opportunity. But this city still loves me and supports me, so regardless what I do; I always have a home back in Pittsburgh.”
The difference between the two is obvious.
Lewis is still performing at a high level while Ward did not at the end of his career, prompting the Steelers organization to make a tough decision regarding their all-time leading receiver.
Ward wanted to come back this season, but the Steelers had no such plans. Even if he had, it’s doubtful the 36-year-old would have had much of an impact, if any, on an 8-8 team that underachieved on both sides of the ball down the stretch.
Even though Ward wanted to go out on his own terms, it probably worked out for the best for both himself and the organization.
He didn’t have much productive football left in him and his post-football career is starting to take off.
In addition to his stint on Dancing With the Stars and a cameo in The Dark Knight Rises, Ward’s training for the Ironman Triathlon in Hawaii and will debut as a zombie next month in AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Then there is the analyst work he did for NBC during the football season, so Ward has seemed to adjust nicely to life without football.
“I’ve always wanted to be known for more than just being a football player,” said Ward.
So far he is staying quite busy.