Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Hines Ward have teamed up to lead Pittsburgh to countless big wins over the years, none bigger that Super Bowl victories at the end of the 2005 and 2008 seasons. With news that the club plans to release Ward, however, one of the most productive quarterback-receiver duos in team history appears to have been split up, and Roethlisberger is wishing his soon-to-be former teammate well, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Ed Bouchette.
Unable to reach him last night, Roethlisberger left Ward a message on his cell phone, "letting him know 'thank you for everything.' I'll miss him, I know we'll all miss him and it was awesome to play with him," Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette today.
"Hines is Black and Gold," Roethlisberger declared. "I see him and wonder what it'll be like for me late in my career, things like that. It's hard. Two of my favorite players growing up, Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, they're still 49ers. Hines will always be a Steeler."
Ward posted three 1,000-yard seasons with Roethlisberger as the starter from 2004 to this past season, and though the numbers were never eye-popping, Ward could be counted on to be Roethlisberger's safety blanket and go-to option at almost any time as he grew into his current role as a franchise quarterback.
Roethlisberger was productive this past season with Ward largely marginalized in the offense. Still, though, it'll be interesting to see how Roethlisberger responds to having his longtime teammate off the squad this coming season.
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