Hines Ward Not Changing for Anyone

Lee TawilContributor ISeptember 24, 2009

CINCINNATI - OCTOBER 19:  Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers jogs on the field during the NFL game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 19, 2008 in Cincinnati, Ohio.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Last season when the Steelers played the Bengals, Hines Ward blocked Keith Rivers so hard that he broke his jaw, and he caused Rivers to miss the rest of the season. With the Bengals and Steelers meeting up again this weekend, Hines Ward was questioned by a reporter if he would do the same this weekend if the opportunity presented itself. Ward’s response may come as a surprise to many, but not to me.

Ward’s response was: “I’ll still hit him.”

This is in lieu of the fact that the hit is now considered a penalty. Most people would view this response as immature or stubborn behavior by a player who should be above it. He, being a guy who has been in the league for a number of years and has been a huge asset to the success of his team.

I, on the other hand, see Ward’s response in a different light.

I feel that Ward, who is a veteran in the league, has every right to act the way he feels when it comes to playing the game with passion. When he said he would hit him again, he did not say it maliciously, but rather he was implying that he felt the hit should not be considered a penalty to begin with. He clearly plays the game in a certain way, and he is not going to change that because of a rule change. Once he takes a play like that out of his repertoire, he is essentially taking away the aspect that makes him so valuable to the Steelers.

Of course, if it’s a tight game, and it’s the fourth quarter, he should curb his enthusiasm for a few minutes and not cost his team a chance at winning the game. But Ward is a smart guy, the Steelers have nothing to worry about. Keith Rivers, though, should keep his eye on Mr. Ward all game long.