Anybody play video games?
If you’re like me, you enjoy a Red Bull and several hours of video gaming on your Xbox or Playstation. And occasionally, when you’re not a super secret government agent or a sword wielding knight, you put in a sports game and take control of your favorite team. Of course, one of the annoying aspects of the sports game industry is their habit of coming out with a new version each and every year. While that may seem to be a blatant money grab (which it is), it is also made necessary by the amount of roster turnover each year.
Put in MLB The Show 2006 and there still might be a couple players on each team today. Put in Madden 2007 and you’ll see rosters you barely recognize. Such is the nature of free agency in major sports. Players come and players go. Nobody stays forever.
Except Hines Ward.
Lost in the excitement over the NFL draft was the news that the Pittsburgh Steelers and WR Hines Ward agreed on a 5 year contract extension worth about $22 million total. That’s a pay cut for a guy who was scheduled to make $5.8 million this year. Of course, it’s not the same as Jerome Bettis playing an entire season for league minimum money but then again, Ward is coming off one of his better seasons.
Ward has stated he wants to retire as a Steeler. At 33 years old, if he plays out his 5 year contract, that should pretty much give him his wish. Most receivers tend to lose a step when they hit their late 30’s (Marvin Harrison anyone?) and given Hines’ physical play, I’m sure it has taken a toll on him. However, no player has epitomized the heart and soul of the Black and Gold like Ward has so it’s a very reassuring thought that we should never have to worry about looking across the field at his smiling face in another uniform.