By Teresa Varley
Hines Ward has stood on the sidelines many a time, watching players from the Steelers Super Bowl teams of the past parade out to mid-field to be honored.
He knew the names, knew the faces and without a doubt knew what they accomplished.
And now, he is starting to feel a part of it.
The five shiny Lombardi Trophies located at the Steelers practice facility will soon have company as room will be made for the team's sixth Super Bowl trophy.
Four of those trophies were won by the teams in the 1970s, but the last two were won by a core of players who were a part of the Super Bowl XL and XLIII teams.
"I've been here 11 years and every other year there was a reunion with this Super Bowl team and that Super Bowl team," said Ward. "I love seeing those guys, but we want to be a part of that. Now we finally get to take part in that. It is just a special meaning."
Winning Super Bowl XL was one thing as it gave the Steelers that elusive "One for the Thumb." But at the same time, it was the first title won by this group of players. Now, that has all changed with the team's victory in Super Bowl XLIII, the second title in four seasons.
"To win two Super Bowls in four years is definitely a special feat for a lot of guys on the team and for this organization," said Ward. "Some guys never even get the opportunity to play in the Super Bowl and that's what makes it so hard."
Ward has broken individual records set by the Steelers receivers of the 70s – Hall of Famers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth. And now he is starting to enjoy what those teams did as a unit.
"It is just a special feeling when you win, not only one Super Bowl, but two Super Bowls, in your career," said Ward. "That to me is almost surreal. I can't even believe it.
"Now I kind of feel like a part of that distinguished class of those teams in the 70's. They were so dominant during their heyday. Winning four Super Bowls in one decade, that is a special meaning in itself. To be a part of that, winning two out of the four in the past four years, you feel a part of that 70's team."