Hines Ward is determined to retire with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the only franchise he's ever known. He's currently slated to earn $4 million in 2012, and following a down season in which he was overshadowed by up-and-coming receivers such as Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders, there's been speculation that he could be released this offseason.
Ward has heard the chatter, and he took to his official Facebook page in hopes of stopping the rumor mill in its tracks:
I don't normally like to respond to rumors, but as I've said all along, I want to finish my career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. And as I've already told the organization, I am willing to work with them to restructure my contract to make sure this happens. - HINES
It remains to be seen what the Steelers want to do, but it would be a surprise if they can't work out a deal. Ward currently ranks No. 8 on the NFL's all-time receptions list, tied for No. 13 for receiving touchdowns and No. 18 for receiving yards. But among players who have played for only one team, he ranks second, fourth and third, respectively. He's an iconic player who's identified with the black and gold, and it would be uncomfortable for everyone to see him finish his career elsewhere.