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For Steelers, Hines Ward Release Was About Aging, Not Money

Some analysis of the Steelers’ recent announcement of wide receiver Hines Ward’s impending release has focused on the salary-cap implications of the move, and rightfully so, as the Steelers have been fighting a battle of the salary-cap bulge all offseason. But as Gerry Dulac and others have noted, this move wasn’t about the cap.

Decision to release 86 was not about money. He could’ve offered to play for free and wouldn’t matter. Coaches feel he can’t play anymore …

Ward would have been Sunday inactive if Steelers kept him. They didn’t want him taking a roster spot at expense of developing young player.

Even the best of us age, and the Steelers felt that Ward had already done too much of that, so it didn’t matter that Ward offered to return to the Steelers at a reduced salary. As Mark Kaboly put it:

@MarkMaddenX: @MarkKaboly_Trib Did Hines turn down vet minimum” not sure but doubtful. Steelers wanted nothing to do w/ him regardless of $

We’ll see if Ward lands anywhere — there’s already been some speculation about him heading to the Jaguars — but it looks like the Steelers simply think he’s done.

For more on the Steelers, check out Behind The Steel Curtain.

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