Tuesday, March 20, 2012

AND YOU MEANT THE WORLD TO US, HINES




Today one of the greats in Steeler history, Hines Ward, announced his retirement after 14 years with the Pittsburgh Steelers.  A tearful Hines Ward gave us, Steelers Nation, what we all wanted. That he will retire and remain a Steeler for life.

There had been stories put out there that possibly Hines could be playing elsewhere this season, but he also spoke about that and stated,  “There’s been some interest from other teams...but I just couldn’t picture myself playing in another uniform.”

He is also not ruling out coaching down the line. He has already been a mentor/coach to his young receiver teammates.  Ward said he had told them not to get caught up in stats. "One person can't win a Super Bowl" he said.   He also told Mike Wallace that there is not another special place like Pittsburgh.  I have to agree with him on that.

Wallace will not find another devoted fan base like Steeler Nation that will always have his back.  The old saying goes "Black and Gold until I'm dead and cold."  We as fans take that seriously.

Personally, I would love to see Hines come back as a receivers coach and groom these young guys.  He has been like their coach since they became Steelers. This would only help improve their overall game by keeping them in the right mind-set that it isn't about stats,  it is about winning games and championships.  He could also mentor these guys in keeping them in the right mind frame of what it is to be a Steeler.



Then he goes on to say these heartfelt words to Steeler Nation.

“You guys meant the world to me,” Ward stated to Steelers fans. “This city and this organization means the world to me. So today I came back to Pittsburgh to grant Steeler Nation this one last request. Today I am officially retiring as a Pittsburgh Steeler. And as much as I will miss football, my teammates, coaches and everything about the game, I don’t want to play in any other uniform. The black and gold runs deep with me, and I will remain a Steeler for life.”

This is where it really touched me in his press conference as he wiped tears from his eyes and I wiped them from mine.  He said that he is retiring because of us the fans because "we mean the world" to him.

Hines , you also mean the world to us, as a proud member of Steeler Nation, You were the Steelers to me.  As I stated in a previous blog,  I know all about Lynn Swann and his greatness, but was never witness to it because of my age.  You were the greatness that I witnessed.  You were the face of the franchise in my eyes. " The Real Man of Steel".

I, as a fan have been fortunate to watch you be one of the all time greats and that is something that I will be able to pass on to my children.  When they ask me who was one of the greatest receivers in Steelers history, you will be who I tell them, as it was passed on to me about Lynn Swann by my Dad.  You said it best when you said being a Steeler fan passes down from generation to generation, that most are born with Terrible Towels in their hands.  I was fortunate to be one of those fans.  I could have chosen to root for another team, but I chose to root for the Steelers. 

You, Hines, will always hold a special place in my memories of some of the greatest Steeler games and moments.  You will be who I think of when I think of greatness and what it is to be a Steeler.   I will never forget that smile.  That was the highlight of any game to see you take a hard hit and come up and be smiling.  That is one of the things I will miss the most with you not being there.

Your legacy will always be a part of the Steelers. You touched the heart of so many fans , even fans that were not Steeler fans.  When they think of the Steelers they think of you.  The joy you brought so many fans like myself, will be greatly missed.

I know you said it was what you felt  was the right thing to do. I for on am happy you retired a Steeler but would have been  OK with your decision if you would have decided to keep on playing.  It would have been hard as a fan to see you in another uniform, but you would still be my favorite.

I just want to say as a Steeler fan I was blessed to see you play . I have so many fond memories of you as a Steeler that I will always cherish , as I know other fans will.  This hurts because you never want to see one of your favorites go.  I have seen a lot of favorites go, but I never thought I would see you go.  I, want to thank you for the memories.
 
In closing, I will just say that I look forward to seeing your beautiful smile on a bronze bust in Canton and I will make the trip there to see you inducted. Enjoy your retirement and hopefully we will see you again on the sidelines.