Hines Ward is, plain and simple, a Pittsburgh icon. Since being drafted by the Steelers in the 3rd round of the 1998 draft, the South Korea native has broken every meaningful team receiving record, including career touchdowns, receiving yards and receptions. He has also undoubtedly secured his place among other Steeler legends, such as Jack Lambert, Terry Bradshaw, Jerome Bettis, and many other titans of the Steel City.
However, it looks as though Ward's time as a member of the Steelers family have come to an end.
The NFL Network reported, citing unnamed sources, that the Steelers don't plan on bringing the 14-year veteran back to Pittsburgh next season. The decision is partly financial—the Steelers are at least $20 million over the cap—and partly production-related—last year was Ward's worst statistical season since his rookie campaign.
While the prevailing wisdom seems to be that sending Ward on his way is the "right" decision, here are four arguments that lobby for the retention of one of the most beloved players in Steelers' history.