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Steelers Players Expect Hines Ward To Retire, According To Report

Wide receiver Hines Ward's long an illustrious career with the Pittsburgh Steelers could be coming to an following the team's loss against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. Mike Freeman of CBS Sports has details:

A Steelers player texted to me the expectations around the team was that Ward would soon announce his retirement. That doesn't mean it's set he will. That means some Steelers players believe it which means it's likely to happen.

Ward watched his role in the offense diminish greatly over the course of the season, falling clearly behind Pro Bowlers Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown on the depth chart, and at some points, even lower. The team's push to get him over 1,000 career receptions was a struggle until he finally broke through on Jan. 1 against Cleveland.

If he does choose to return, Ward could see even less playing time than he did this season, something the future Hall of Famer might not be able to stomach. And so, if he does exit in the coming days, it will hardly be a surprise.

For updates, stay tuned to SB Nation Pittsburgh. For more in-depth coverage of Pittsburgh vs. Denver, visit Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain and Broncos blog Mile High Report. For more news and notes from around the NFL, visit SB Nation's NFL news hub.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.