The Pittsburgh Steelers could have a very different look in 2012. In addition to revealing that the team is not very confident that Rashard Mendenhall can be back early next year, General Manager Kevin Colbert said no decision has been made on wide receiver Hines Ward, or any other veteran free agents (via Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette).
"To this current point, no final decisions have been made," Colbert said of Ward and all the veteran players. "We've had several discussions internally. We're right in the midst of our free agent evaluations of other teams' free agents. We'll meet on those [on the Steelers roster] starting Thursday and carry through Monday."
If the team were to allow Ward to leave, they would be bidding farewell to a player who has come to largely define the Steelers since joining them in 1998. The 35-year-old has accumulated more than 12,000 receiving yards and scored 86 touchdowns during his 14-year career.
He's also coming off the least productive year since his rookie campaign. Despite playing in 15 games, he made just 46 catches for 381 yards and two touchdowns. Those were all career lows, excluding his rookie year. Ward reportedly made about $3 million and had a cap hit of $3.6 million. Clearly, the Steelers will be looking to drastically reduce those figures.
For more on Ward's future, be sure to check out Steelers blog Behind the Steel Curtain.