Hines Ward believes he still has more football left in him after 14 seasons in Pittsburgh. But that might not be a sentiment shared by personnel decision-makers around the NFL.
Appearing Wednesday on “NFL Total Access,” NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora shared the belief it will be difficult for Ward to find a job.
“It’s going to be difficult (for Ward to find another job),” La Canfora said. “Maybe a team like Tampa, maybe a team like Jacksonville, that needs a veteran presence at wide receiver. … When you talk to scouts about him, they didn’t see how he fit on Pittsburgh’s team.”
Ward fell on the Steelers’ depth chart last season, seeing a limited role behind Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown that resulted in his lowest receiving totals (46 receptions, 381 yards, two touchdowns) since his rookie season in 1998. Ward became a situational player who doesn’t play on special teams, which makes him difficult to fit on a roster.
NFL Network analyst Heath Evans isn’t ready to buy into the idea the ship has completely sailed on Ward, saying teams still will take a close look.
“The only thing that has really decreased in Hines Ward’s game is his speed,” Evans said. “His hands are the same, his leadership, all the intangibles that allowed him to last 14 years still exist. … It’s going to be hard, I think, for teams to at least not take a look at this guy.”
But during an offseason with a deep class of free-agent receivers, as well as other veterans like Randy Moss and Terrell Owens still wanting back in, the odds might be stacked against Ward.
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