Hines Ward

Well it’s official…Hines Ward will not be a Steeler come next football season.

President Art Rooney II announced Wednesday on the team’s website that Ward, the franchise’s all-time leader in just about every meaningful receiving category will be released sometime in the next two weeks.

“We had a conversation today with Hines Ward and informed him that we plan to release him of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year,” Rooney said. “Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998, and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve.”

While on the Oscar red carpet Sunday Ward said “this isn’t how I wanted this chapter of my career to end,” then went on to say that he would be returning for a 15th season next fall.

“I do feel that I still have more football left in me and I am looking forward to playing in the NFL, again, this upcoming season,” Ward said in a statement.

I’m not a Steelers fan but it’s going to be hard watching the team next season and not seeing Hines Ward suit up in the black and gold. My heart really goes out to Steeler Nation, that town supported and believed in Ward since the beginning of his football career. Like my Dad said, “it’s like a family member died”. Hines still has a lot left in him, just happy to hear that retirement is not an option.

Your J.G.F.,

Marcelle English