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Pro Bowl Receiver Ward, Steelers Finally Agree on Deal

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  • Pro Bowl Receiver Ward, Steelers Finally Agree on Deal

    Pro Bowl Receiver Ward, Steelers Finally Agree on Deal
    Veteran Reaches Terms on Four-Year Contract With Pittsburgh

    PITTSBURGH (Sept. 5) - Wide receiver Hines Ward and the Pittsburgh Steelers reached terms Monday on a four-year contract, ending months of wrangling over a restructured deal less than a week before Sunday's opener against Tennessee.

    After making the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons, Hines Ward held out of the first two weeks of Steelers training camp.

    Ward missed the first two weeks of training camp - the first veteran Steelers player to hold out so long since running back Barry Foster in 1993 - and returned only because the franchise held to its policy of not negotiating with holdout players. The Steelers traditionally do not negotiate during the season, either, which led to a busy weekend of talks between agent Eugene Parker and the Steelers.

    The Steelers have not played since ending the preseason Thursday, but Ward stayed in Pittsburgh over the weekend as talks progressed, and attended the Notre Dame-Pitt game on Saturday night.

    While there was speculation during his holdout he might sit out as long as three months, Ward said he found it impossible to stay away once he saw his teammates practicing and the preseason games starting. He returned to the team less than two hours before its first exhibition game Aug. 15.

    "I've been telling them to get this done," Ward said. "I started my career as a Steeler and I want to end my career as a Steeler. I don't want to play anywhere else. This is a great football city. Why would you ever want to play anywhere else?"

    Ward had one year left on a contract he signed in 2001 before making the Pro Bowl each of the next four seasons. He was to have made $1.67 million this season, far below what most premier NFL receivers make and a salary barely among the top 40 at his position.

    Ward not only is one of the NFL's most proficient receivers - he has four of the top five receptions seasons in club history - he is widely regarded as the league's best blocking receiver.

    The Steelers' league-leading rushing offense intentionally structures some plays to run to his side because of Ward's ability to take cornerbacks out of a play and create an upfield running lane once a back clears the line of scrimmage.

    Ward, 29, became a skilled blocker despite also being used at quarterback and tailback at Georgia. He became a Steelers starter during his second season in 1999 and has caught at least 61 passes in every season but once since then. He averaged 95 catches over the last four seasons, including a franchise-record 112 in 2002, when he also had a career-high 12 touchdown catches.

    He had 80 receptions last season, his fewest since 2000, and four touchdowns as the Steelers ran the ball 61 percent of the time, but he was chosen for his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl.

    Ward has caught 505 passes in his career, 32 behind Hall of Famer John Stallworth's franchise record. His 6,055 yards receiving are second to Stallworth's 8,723 and his 37 career TD catches are tied for fifth. His 88 consecutive games with at least one catch, an ongoing streak that began in 1998, is a club record.

    09/05/05 13:26 EDT

  • #2
    Re: Pro Bowl Receiver Ward, Steelers Finally Agree on Deal

    I am happy that Hines Ward has signed back up with the Steelers and that he is getting paid nicely. My brother has been threatening to turn his season tickets in if the Steelers FO did not take care of Ward. Apparently my brother is still upset about how they handled Rod Woodson and he did not want to see Ward leave the Steelers in the same manner.

    I am already on the schedule for a Steeler game in October this year. it's time to play football. :football:


    • #3
      Re: Pro Bowl Receiver Ward, Steelers Finally Agree on Deal

      good for him, this guy is the real deal, great receiver


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      • MauiRam
        Hines Ward continues to do it year after year ..
        by MauiRam
        BY JIM THOMAS Posted: Sunday, February 6, 2011 12:20 am

        DALLAS -- Five years ago this week, Pittsburgh defeated Seattle 21-10 in Super Bowl XL, and after that game one of the all-time great Steelers running back Jerome "The Bus" Bettis rode off into retirement.

        Now what about Hines Ward? One of the all-time great Steelers concludes his 13th NFL season in Super Bowl XLV against Green Bay. And one of the nostalgic story lines leading into the Pittsburgh-Green Bay matchup is the possibility that Ward will pull a Bettis on Sunday at Cowboys Stadium.

        Steelers win. Ward, 34, calls it a career. Such a scenario might have Steeler Nation using their Terrible Towels to wipe away moist eyes. Is this Ward's last game? For some reason, he kept getting that question this week.

        "I'm not retiring," Ward said. "I'm not in the mood to retire. That was the No. 1 question that was asked. It's almost like they're pushing me out. Until Coach (Mike) Tomlin says he does not need my services anymore, I am going to continue playing."

        Ward holds just about every receiving record the Steelers keep. Then again, he has been a fixture in the Steel City for a while after being drafted in the third round in 1998. That makes him the longest-tenured wide receiver with one team currently in the league.

        The younger receivers on the Pittsburgh roster call Ward "Old Money." But young, old or in between, Ward has always been "money" for the Steelers' passing game. Game after game, season after season, he shows up and produces at a high level.

        For 11 consecutive seasons, from 1999 through 2009, Ward led the Steelers in receptions. (He shared the team lead with Troy Edwards in '99.) The string was broken this year, but not by much: Mike Wallace had 60 catches in the regular season to Ward's 59.

        All but immune to injury, Ward has missed only six games over his career. He had a streak of 186 consecutive games with a reception, the third longest in NFL history, snapped in Game 9 this season against New England.

        In a game characterized by constant change, that's a lot of consistency and dependability.

        "To still be here at such a high level after 13 years, it seems like every Super Bowl I've got a different counterpoint opposite me," Ward said. "I just remember (Antwaan) Randle El in Super Bowl XL throwing me the ball, and then Santonio Holmes in XLIII catching that ball in the end zone.

        "I was just ecstatic for all of them, and here I am still plugging along at it. I know one day, eventually, they'll replace me, but you know, I don't look at that. It's not what they do; it's what I do. If I start to find signs that I'm falling off, or I'm not getting open against guys that I think I should get open against, I'll walk away from the game easily."
        -02-06-2011, 10:06 AM
      • DJRamFan
        Steelers reach terms with Roethlisberger on six-year deal
        by DJRamFan
        Aug. 3, 2004 wire reports

        LATROBE, Pa. -- No Pittsburgh Steelers rookie has ever made as much money as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. He didn't take long to start earning it.


        Roethlisberger, the 11th pick in the draft, signed a six-year contract Tuesday that could be worth as much as $40 million.

        The contract includes $22,269,500 worth of salaries and various bonuses and $17,730,500 in incentives -- including $4,875,000 in playing time bonuses easily reachable for a starting quarterback.

        The deal, reached following lengthy talks that began early Monday and extended into Tuesday morning, includes a Steelers record $9,009,000 in bonuses: $600,000 (signing bonus, payable immediately), $1,172,000 (roster bonus, payable by Aug. 10) and $7,237,000 (option bonus, payable March 5).

        Three hours after arriving at camp, Roethlisberger attended a quarterbacks meeting. He will be on the field for two practices Wednesday, one at a high school before a crowd that could reach 10,000.

        "I'm excited, nervous, all the same feelings I had at minicamp," he said. "Once I get out and throw the first couple of passes, it will be a relief and I'm sure it will come back to me."

        Ben Roethlisberger signs an incentive-laden six-year contract with the Steelers.(Getty Images)
        Roethlisberger was the third quarterback drafted in April, behind the Giants' Eli Manning and the Chargers' Philip Rivers, but Roethlisberger's agent, Leigh Steinberg, predicted he will be the best.

        "This is a franchise quarterback," Steinberg said. "I think he's a Troy Aikman, John Elway type of quarterback. He's that good."

        The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Roethlisberger completed 854 of 1,304 passes for 10,829 yards at Miami of the Mid-American Conference, with 84 touchdown passes and 34 interceptions.

        The negotiations finally progressed when the Steelers agreed to pay Roethlisberger a larger bonus than the $8 million Houston gave cornerback Dunta Robinson, who was drafted No. 10 overall, one spot ahead of Roethlisberger.

        To get a larger bonus, Roethlisberger agreed to play this season for the minimum salary of $230,000. Previously, the Steelers' largest bonus was $8.1 million to former starting quarterback Kordell Stewart in 1999.

        "We felt that quarterbacks deserve a premium, and the Steelers ultimately agreed," said Steinberg, who flew to Pittsburgh on Sunday night to get the talks moving with Steelers negotiator Omar Khan and team president Art Rooney II. "A potential franchise quarterback always is a special sort of player to deal with."

        Roethlisberger's base salaries will be $230,000 (2004), $305,000 (2005), $655,000 (2006), $1,026,000 (2007), $1,356,000...
        -08-04-2004, 12:30 PM
      • RamWraith
        Bettis said he faked injury to keep Steelers from cutting him
        by RamWraith
        By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer
        August 23, 2007

        PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jerome Bettis, the No. 5 rusher in NFL history, claims in a new book that he faked a knee injury during training camp in 2000 so the Pittsburgh Steelers wouldn't cut him and install Richard Huntley as the starter.

        Bettis was worried offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride favored Huntley over him and the Steelers were ready to let Bettis go, partly so they wouldn't have to give him a new contract. Huntley had just signed a $4 million, three-year contract.

        "Man, did I do a nice job of acting," Bettis wrote in the book, "The Bus: My Life in and Out of a Helmet." "The thing is, I wasn't faking that I had an injury. I was just faking that the injury happened on that short-yardage play. I had to fool the coaches and the team's medical department into thinking the injury had occurred on that play. Otherwise, the Steelers would have had their reason to cut me and my salary."

        Teams cannot cut an injured player during camp unless they reach an injury settlement with him.

        "I effectively negated any funny business they were trying to pull on me," Bettis wrote in the book. "I took the pressure off a head coach (Bill Cowher) who was probably trying to get rid of me."

        Bettis' recollection may be more anecdotal than fact-based.

        While Bettis was held out early in that 2000 camp because of a hip injury, his knee injury -- the one Bettis said he faked -- was not revealed until later in camp. Huntley had a hamstring injury at the time and played in only one preseason game, gaining 13 yards.

        Bettis didn't disclose how a player who was so injured that he missed all but a few days of camp could beat Bettis out of a job and force the Steelers to release him.

        An MRI test by the Steelers during that camp revealed Bettis, who had undergone knee surgery the year before, had blood swelling behind his kneecap as a result of a hit during practice.

        Bettis did not write in the book, co-written with Gene Wojciechowski, how a fresh injury that supposedly didn't occur could cause such test results. He did write that he showed up to camp with a knee problem that had occurred the season before.

        Bettis, who had worked out extensively during the offseason before that camp, said at the time he was very relieved the injury wasn't worse.

        "I was worried about it initially. The MRI showed a bone bruise," Bettis said. "That's when the blood came in. That was refreshing for me because whenever you're dealing with a knee and swelling, you always assume the worst. I assumed the worst, but it tuned out not to be the case."

        Bettis would go on to rush for 1,341 yards that season and later signed a $30 million contract with the Steelers. Huntley gained only 217 yards...
        -08-23-2007, 07:36 PM
      • DJRamFan
        Steelers sign Cowher to 2-year extension
        by DJRamFan news services
        PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Steelers coach Bill Cowher signed a two-year contract extension Monday -- the second time since 2001 he has agreed to a new deal after his team missed the playoffs the preceding season.

        The extension, which carries through the 2007 season, is expected to keep Cowher's salary competitive with those of the game's highest-paid head coaches. Cowher's current deal pays him $3 million per season, and team president Art Rooney II said the coach was given a raise in his new contract.

        Cowher agreed to his current contract, which runs through the 2005 season, after the Steelers rebounded from consecutive losing seasons by going 9-7 in 2000 but still missed the playoffs.

        The 47-year-old Cowher has a 115-76-1 record in 12 seasons, with only three losing seasons. His seven division titles are the fifth most in NFL coaching history, and the Steelers have reached the playoffs 12 times under Cowher despite missing them four of the last six seasons.

        "I can't think of a better job," said Cowher, a Pittsburgh native. "To me, it's not about the market or the money, to me it's about winning. ... I never could have imagined coaching another team."

        Under Cowher, the Steelers have played in the Super Bowl once and appeared in four AFC title games, but the franchise has not won an NFL title since the fourth and last of their Super Bowl wins under former coach Chuck Noll during the 1979 season.

        "He's at the point where he's made enough money, he's raising his family, he's been successful, and there's only one thing left to do and we feel he can do it here, and that's win a championship," Rooney said. "That's what it comes down to: Do you believe your coach can win a championship for you?"

        Cowher called not winning the Super Bowl "the void" in his career he is trying to fill.

        "It's about doing what I was brought here to do 12 years ago, for one of the classiest owners in the league [Dan Rooney], if not the classiest owner in the league, and that's what drives me and will continue to drive me," Cowher said.

        Cowher has traditionally signed extensions with two years remaining on his contract, and did so again this year. The Steelers begin training camp Friday, and both sides sought to get a deal done before then to avoid distractions. In the past, the team usually has not negotiated contracts once a season begins.

        Cowher has the most seniority of any active NFL coach, and only eight coaches have coached one team longer than Cowher has -- including Noll, who coached the Steelers from 1969 to 1991. Cowher's 122 career victories, counting postseason wins, are...
        -07-26-2004, 05:44 PM
      • DJRamFan
        Steelers ink Colclough to 4-year, $3.27M deal
        by DJRamFan
        By Len Pasquarelli

        Cornerback Ricardo Colclough, the second-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the first player chosen from Division II Tusculum College, has reached agreement on his first NFL contract, a four-year deal worth $3.27 million.

        A small-school standout with big-time cover skills, Colclough is the fourth of Pittsburgh's eight draft choices to come to contract terms. But his signing is almost as significant from a league-wide standpoint, given the ponderous pace of negotiations this year.

        The 38th prospect selected overall, Colclough is the second-highest drafted player to date to reach an accord. The only higher pick with a contract in place is linebacker Jason Babin, the latter of the Houston Texans' two first-round picks and the 27th player taken overall in the draft. Colclough is just the third player in the second round, and the sixth player chosen in the first three rounds, to come to terms.

        Overall, as of Sunday morning, only 44 of the 255 draftees have completed deals. And 26 of those players are in the sixth and seventh rounds.

        While negotiations with first-round choices figure to remain slow, there should be a spate of signings in the middle and late rounds this week, as the opening of camps gets closer.

        Colclough, 22, will receive a signing bonus of $1,892,800 and minimum base salaries of $230,000 (2004), $305,000 (2005), $385,000 (2006) and $460,000 (2007).

        Despite being very raw and having performed in a small-school program, Colclough is a superior athlete and is expected to contribute quickly for the Steelers, who are shaking up their secondary after two seasons of surrendering too many big plays. He will compete for either the No. 3 or No. 4 cornerback spot, behind starters Deshea Townsend and Chad Scott, and could also be used on returns.

        "He's definitely got a lot to learn, but he is going to help us this year," said Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau earlier this spring.

        Colclough moved quickly up draft boards around the NFL after he demonstrated at the Senior Bowl all-star game that he could hold his own against top-level wide receivers. He was a true shut-down corner in Division II, but it was critical for him to convince scouts at the Senior Bowl that his talents projected well to the professional level.

        He played two seasons at Tusculum, following a stint at Kilgore (Tex.) Junior College, and started in all 20 of his appearances. Colclough finished with 15 interceptions (11 as a senior), 106 tackles and 25 passes defensed. He also averaged 28.7 yards on 23 kickoff returns and 14.4 yards on punt runbacks and scored four touchdowns on special teams.

        Len Pasquarelli is a senior writer for
        -07-20-2004, 08:52 AM