There has been a lot of talk lately about whether the Pittsburgh Steelers would retain veteran receiver Hines Ward in 2012.
I understand the business aspect of it. However, I think there should not even be a question to whether Ward should be allowed to stay with the Steelers.
This isn’t the first time the Steelers have been in this type of situation, and it won’t be the last. Here are five former players whose careers should have ended in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1972-1983)
Seattle Seahawks (1984)
Franco Harris played the first 11 seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers before playing one year with the Seattle Seahawks and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.
Harris is most notably known for his role in “The Immaculate Reception” and is currently 13th all-time in rushing yards.
The Steelers didn’t want to pay Harris at the end of his career, which led to him leaving the team, rushing for only 170 yards and retiring in the middle of his only season with the Seahawks.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1974-1988)
Kansas City Chiefs (1989-1990)
Mike Webster is in my opinion the best offensive lineman to ever play for the Steelers and was part of the greatest draft class in NFL history that included Webster, Lynn Swann, Jack Lambert and John Stallworth who are all Hall of Famers.
After 15 seasons with the Steelers, Webster was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs to be their offensive line coach however, he then became their starting center.
Webster retired following the 1990 season, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997 and passed away at the age of 50 in 2002.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1987-1996)
San Francisco 49ers (1997)
Baltimore Ravens (1998-2001)
Oakland Raiders (2002-2003)
The Pittsburgh Steelers decided that Rod Woodson was not worth the money and allowed him to leave in free agency after the 1996 season.
Woodson then went on to play seven more seasons with three different teams while winning a Super Bowl with the rival Baltimore Ravens in 2000.
Woodson was one of the best cornerbacks in NFL history, became a great safety late in his career and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1988-1997)
Carolina Panthers (1998)
Greg Lloyd’s career may have ended with only one sack in his last season with the Panthers. However, he was better known for destroying quarterbacks and for the way he handled the media.
Lloyd was one of the best pass-rushers the Steelers have ever had and would have put up more numbers if not for injuries that eventually ended his career in Pittsburgh.
Although Lloyd only finished with 53.5 sacks with the Steelers, mainly due to those injuries, in my opinion he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1998-2007)
New York Jets (2008-2009)
Arizona Cardinals (2010)
Alan Faneca was once part of a great Steelers offensive line that included Marvel Smith at LT, Faneca at LG, Jeff Hartings at C, Kendall Simmons at RG and Max Starks at RT.
This was the offensive line that the Steelers employed when they won Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks, and Max Starks is the only one that has survived past 2008.
Starks may or may not be back in 2012, and Faneca ended his career where most players that are not retained by the Steelers go, the Arizona Cardinals.