Holdouts, Holdouts, Holdouts – By Mike Marino
Steelers Fever Exclusive Editorial
|As the title implies, players not reporting to training camp, or holding out, has been the story of the 2005 NFL off-season. It has affected more than just a couple teams, and most of the damage was caused by sports superagent Drew Rosenhaus. Unfortunately, it has also affected the Steelers training camp. And while most of the players holding out this off-season have settled their issues, that is not the case in Pittsburgh. And again, unfortunately, it’s one of my favorite Steelers that is holding out.
Mr. Hines Ward, the all-around wide receiver that was truly, before this off-season, a team player. As my colleague Nick said, the Steelers are trying to pull a page out of the Patriots’ book by getting guys to sign for less money and having them become team players.Take for example, Troy Brown. But I am going to offer a rebuttal to you here Nick, show the other side of the story.
My friends, Hines Ward is no Troy Brown. Ward is not the best receiver in football, no, rather he is the best overall football player in the sport. He catches, runs, blocks, and can even throw, he can return kicks, and will probably play defense if you ask him to. Sound familiar to those New Englanders out there? Yep, sounds like Troy Brown’s resume.
However, NFL Live on Thursday discussed how Hines Ward truly is the best football player in the sport, and they were correct. The only receiver to have as many consecutive $1,000 yard seasons and get paid as low as Ward does is Torry Holt. The receivers on that list include names such as Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, and Terrell Owens and their salaries are much more than what the Steelers are offering Ward on his final year of his contract (a little more than a mil).
As my colleague Nick said, the Steelers are a running football team, a pound-it-out, hard-nose football team. But Ward adds to that persona. His incredible blocking and possession receiving adds wonders to the Steelers offense. Of course, the Steelers should not offer him a contract similar to Moss, Owens, or Harrison, because Ward is not the playmaker that they are. But that’s not to say Ward isn’t the best overall player in football. Hey, a lineman might be the best overall player, but he’s not going to make the kind of money that players such as Moss or Owens are.
Surely, a compromise should be the conclusion to this situation. I am sure that Ward does not want to run the team bankrupt because he’s not that kind of player. Maybe I am just being blind here and want to see everyone end up happy, including me. But I think the Steelers and Ward can come to a reasonable compromise.
Once again, as my colleague said, Mr. Ward, choose the black and gold over the green. But the Steelers must do the same, and the black and gold would not be the same without Hines Ward out there, so give up a little bit of the green and get him to training camp.