Despite reported speculation from inside Pittsburgh's locker room, Hines Ward is not yet ready to retire. The Steelers wide receiver shot down the rumor earlier Monday evening on his Facebook page:
I wanted take a moment to thank all of Steeler Nation for the love and support. I'm sorry for the disappointing loss. I'm still depressed about it. We had a great year finishing 12-4 but our ultimate goal was to win the Super Bowl and we fell short. Hats off to Denver. I'm also getting lots of questions about retirement so let me set the record straight: I have no plans on retiring right now. I want to win another Superbowl. I don't know where the media is getting this info from but rest assured that when I decide to retire, you'll hear it from ME first.
Ward, a 14-year veteran, is signed through 2013 after signing a four-year extension in 2009. But despite playing in 15 games, he had his least productive season since his rookie year, catching just 46 passes for 381 yards and two touchdowns. He lost his starting job to second-year receiver Antonio Brown, and there's at least a chance the Steelers may release him in the offseason.
Whenever Ward decides to retire, he'll leave the game as one of the most productive wide receivers the NFL has ever seen. He's been to four Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowls, and was named Super Bowl MVP in 2006. With exactly 1,000 career receptions, he ranks eighth on the NFL's all-time list, and with 85 career receiving touchdowns, 13th on the league's all-time list.
For more on Ward, check out Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain.