Pittsburgh Steelers all-time leading wide receiver, Hines Ward is currently the head coach of the San Antonio XFL Franchise. He’s also an ambassador for the NFL Alumni Association’s Huddle Up: Let’s Talk Obesity campaign. Before these endeavors however, Ward was named to the Steelers’ Hall of Honor, All-Time Team, was a 4x Pro Bowler, a 3x Second Team All-Pro, a 2x Super Bowl Champion, and the Super Bowl XL MVP. These are enough accolades to most to be considered an NFL Hall of Famer.
For whatever reason, Ward still remains without a gold jacket. Earlier this month, it was announced that he is a nominee on the initial list of the 2023 Pro Football Hall of Fame candidates. Next year could very well be the year for the 14-year veteran, but recently, Ward expressed his thoughts as to why it has taken so long to officially be inducted — and even beyond 2023, it’s still not a guarantee:
“The feedback, or what I’ve been hearing, is that, ‘Well, you’re (weren’t) an [First Team] All-Pro.’ Well, I wasn’t in an offense to be an All-Pro,” Ward explained during a recent interview with CBS Sports. “We had All-Pro offensive linemen and we had All-Pro running backs, because that’s what our offense was.”
“I look at what I did in the 2000’s,” Ward continued. “To go to three Super Bowls, winning two. I was an intricate part of that team just as much as anybody within our organization. But as my mom always told me, only control what you can control. I can’t control [the Hall of Fame], so just having my name mentioned amongst some of the greats to ever wear the uniform, that’s a blessing in itself for me and that’s what I’ll hang my hat on, for now.”
Steelers 2023 HOF Hopeful Hines Ward Labeled as “Dirty Player” by Obnoxious Baltimore Ravens Legend Ed Reed
Another ongoing argument against Ward is that he played in an era of elite wide receivers that some feel are “more” deserving of the honor. Names like Calvin Johnson (inducted in 2021), Andre Johnson, Torry Holt, and Jimmy Smith to name a few. Even Larry Fitzgerald (eligible in 2026), whom Ward squared off against in Super Bowl XLIII, many have above Ward as far as individual accomplishments.
Speaking of Super Bowls, head coach, Mike Tomlin commented earlier this summer that he believes Ward would already be in the Hall of Fame if he and Pittsburgh were able to secure that third championship under Tomlin’s tenure. Ward however, stated that that’s something he doesn’t quite agree with:
“I don’t think I should have to win three Super Bowls,” Ward elaborated. “Most people don’t have one and they’re in the Hall [of Fame], so you’re saying I have to climb the mountain to win three just to get a bid? For whatever reason, it is what it is.”
Ward further stated his case regarding the era in which he played (and who he played with):
“My best years, I didn’t even have Ben Roethlisberger,” said Ward. “And remember, I had Ben when I was young. I didn’t have Ben when he was a veteran, calling his own plays and slinging the ball 60 yards.”
Time will tell in regards to whether or not Ward takes center stage in Canton, Ohio. If you ask me, it’s a no-brainer he deserves to be inducted, but unfortunately, I’m not on the decision panel.
What do yinz think? Does Ward have a point as to why he’s not inducted yet? Do yinz think he’ll ever be? Make sure to click to comment below!