The Pittsburgh Steelers have released veteran wide receiver Hines Ward, the team announced on Wednesday afternoon. "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," Steelers President Art Rooney II told the team's website, Steelers.com. Ward has been with the Steelers since the 1998 NFL season, when the team drafted him in the third round.
During his tenure with the Steelers, Ward became the team's all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yards (12,083), receiving touchdowns (85) and 100-yard receiving games (29). Ward made four Pro-Bowls in his career and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL, when the Steelers beat the Seattle Seahawks.
With the release of Ward, the Steelers have only two wide receivers currently under contract as they work their salary cap to make room to retain Mike Wallace. Releasing Ward outright clears $3.39 million from the salary cap.