So why, according to Ward's representatives, has there been no formal contact from the team in the month and change since season's end?
And, way, way above that, who from the Steelers could have had the audacity to leak word to NFL Network — with the news broken Friday night by veteran reporter Jason La Canfora — that they don't want Ward back for 2012?
Those are good questions, especially the second one. Ward's contract calls for him to be paid $4 million next season, although he has said he would be willing to play for the Steelers for less. The Steelers are currently restructuring a number of contracts, trying to get under the salary cap, and Kovacevic suggests maybe the leak was a way of motivating Ward to sign for less than he ordinarily would. If that's the case, though, that seems like a nasty move to make on a player who has spent his whole career with the team. And if the Steelers are planning on cutting Ward, it might be a good idea to tell him.
For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.