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Insider Only NFL: Ward in last season with Steelers?

Ward done with Steelers?
Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward this summer, told close associates that he intends to play another two to three years. However, are we seeing the end of Hines Ward in a Steelers uniform? The transition to others is already starting.

The 35 year old found himself demoted on the depth chart, working as the No. 4 receiver vs the Bengals. Targeted just once, hauling in one reception for 10 yards, the demotion was not because of any serious lingering effects to Ward’s ankle injury from a few weeks ago that kept him out of the New England game on October 30th.
“No, I think he was ready to go, ” Tomlin said, when asked if Ward’s injury limited his participation. “We were just kind of looking at some personnel groups and looking at ways we wanted these people, which we will do from week-to-week. That might not be any indication of how his participation is going to be moving forward, it’s just an indication of his preparation today.”
The Steelers have reached the point where it’s inexcusable to keep Antonio Brown off the field and Jerricho  Cotchery is reminding the Steelers coaching staff of a younger version of Ward.
When Emmanuel Sanders returns to the lineup and that could come out of the bye week, Ward could very well find himself No. 5 on the depth chart.
It is difficult to picture any scenario of Ward returning in 2012.
Ward will be 36 in March and the Steelers will enter this off-season $20 million over the cap.
Ward is scheduled to make $4 million in 2012, carrying a $4.87 million cap.
Mike Wallace an impending restricted free agent will demand top-10 WR money, while Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders will be entering the final year of their deals in 2012.
Jerricho Cotchery who’s on a one year deal at the veteran league minimum of $810,000, could be a player brought back at a much cheaper rate than Ward.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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