Ward enjoys quality time with President Obama


By Teresa Varley

There were two things Hines Ward wanted to make sure of as he stood next to President Barack Obama putting together care packages for members of the United States military during the team's trip to the White House.

"I just tried to not say something stupid," said Ward. "I tried to hold back from saying something silly or stupid. I was nervous. It was very intimidating. That and I wanted to make sure I put stuff in the care packages right. I had the razors so I wanted to make sure he didn't cut his finger."

Ward lucked out when the President took a spot next to him in the assembly line of putting the packages together and the two talked for about 20 minutes before the President moved on to greet the other players and coaches.

"It was awesome. I was just ecstatic," said Ward. "I was like a little kid. I wanted to get every photo opportunity. I was on his right side. For 20 minutes I was President Obama's right hand man. I wanted to sneak in every opportunity. I told everyone send me their pictures. It was a big honor just being there."

And what exactly do you talk to the President of the United States about?

"I asked him if there is any down time for the President," said Ward. "He told him the little down time he has he is signing papers. I asked about his kids and how they are reacting to everything. I asked him about his wife. I heard he likes Burger King and I asked him about that. We mainly talked about sports. I asked him if he is a decent basketball player and he said he can hold his own.

"He asked me why I smile all of the time. He called me the happiest guy in the NFL. We chuckled about it. He asked about my foundation work. Stuff like that. He knew a lot about me. I was shocked. Getting a chance to kick it with the President was awesome and something I will cherish for the rest of my life."

This is the second United States President that Ward has had the opportunity to meet, having already met former President George W. Bush.

"I was crazy. I was there with the President," said Ward. "I ran back and told my mom and friends. I would be annoyed at me, because everywhere you looked I was right there to his right side. I was overwhelmed. I was just happy to be able to take part in history. I was like a kid in a candy store."

So where does meeting President Obama rank for Ward compared to winning two Super Bowl Championships, and being named MVP of Super Bowl XL?

"That is tough," said Ward. "They go hand in hand though. The Super Bowl is a childhood dream. But meeting him is something for me. I can pass it on to my kids. I am very happy and pleased. It was special to be able to thank the soldiers and speak with them and meet the President."

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