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Looking At Hines Ward In Free Agency; Any Interest?

The PIttsburgh Steelers announced Wednesday that they are releasing longtime wide receiver Hines Ward, who has been with the team since they made him a third round draft pick in 1998. He's the team's career leader in receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns.

His best days are behind him, without question. Ward will turn 36 years old next week and is coming off a season in which he posted his lowest numbers since his rookie year. There's not a whole lot left in the tank.

But Ward says he wants to keep playing in 2012. Where will he land?

NFL Network's Jason La Canfora wonders if a team like the Tampa Bay Bucs or Jacksonville Jaguars could use a veteran receiver like Ward. That makes some sense. I think his best role would be a mentor-type to a team with young receivers. Ward obviously can't be the featured receiver anymore, but he can contribute given the right situation.

Someone will take a look at him and give him a shot. He lacks the speed he once had, which is a big deal for receivers, but he can still be a possession receiver and he can still provide leadership and experience to other players. That's what likely gets him onto a roster at some point before the 2012 season.

For more on Hines Ward and the Pittsburgh Steelers, visit SB Nation's Steelers blog Behind The Steel Curtain. And for more on Pittsburgh sports, visit SB Nation Pittsburgh.