By Teresa Varley
Hines Ward knows that in today's NFL it's a rarity for someone to play their entire career with one team. And now he has the perfect opportunity to buck the trend and do just that.
"Not too many guys in this league, especially during free agency time, can say they got drafted by a team, started with them and were able to finish their career here," said Ward. "It's a big honor. Now I have that opportunity. I couldn't even see myself in another uniform but a Steeler uniform."
Ward was entering the final year of his contract, but pretty much secured retiring in a Steelers uniform when he signed an extension that will keep him with the team for five more seasons.
"It's real good to have it done," said Ward. "You can go into training camp and not have to worry if you are going to be here next year or not. There is still a lot of football left in me. I am not ready to give it up yet.
"The commitment they made to me giving me an extension, they saw something they really liked. They put trust in me that I will be a quality player the next few years. I am happy. I think both teams are happy. Now we can move forward and make more runs at the Super Bowl."
Ward has set every Steelers record, surpassing Hall of Fame wide receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth along the way. But he still has goals he wants to attain. He would like to reach 10,000 yards for his career, and is only 220 yards shy of that.
"It's crazy, I have 800 catches and almost 10,000 yards and to do it for the best organization in the NFL, I never would have envisioned that," said Ward. "To be able to surpass the greats in Stallworth and Swann, what more can you ask for out of a career."
What could be in the asking for Ward is a few more Super Bowl rings. Ward would love nothing more than to do what the Steelers of the 70's did, winning four Super Bowl titles. And he will give his all to accomplish that.
"My job is to go out there and continue to play hard," said Ward. "When I leave this game I want the Steelers Nation to say he was one of the great players to wear the uniform."