Hines Ward is undoubtedly one of the toughest players in the NFL.
He is known for his great hands and ferocious blocks. Ward is not the tallest or most physically gifted wide receiver, however he plays with an intensity noticeably lacking from some of the league’s more prolific receivers.
He was born on March 8, 1976 in Seoul, South Korea to a Korean mother and a black father from the United States. He and his family moved to the United States when Hines was only one year old.
Hines attended the University of Georgia where he played tailback as well as wide receiver. His 3,870 all-purpose yards are second in school history only to Herschel Walker. He set school records for passing attempts, completions, and passing yardage in a bowl game when he quarterbacked Georgia in the 1995 Peach Bowl.
Ward went 31-59 for 419 yards.
Ward was drafted 93rd overall during the third round of the 1998 NFL Entry Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Ward is currently entering his 13th NFL season with the Steelers.
Despite playing in a run-first offense for the majority of his career, Hines has achieved impressive numbers. He has 895 career receptions for 10,947 yards and 78 touchdowns, placing him first all-time in Steelers history in all three categories.
A feat that beats out Hall of Fame receivers Lynn Swann and John Stallworth.
Hines has 1,000 career receptions in sight. Achieving this feat would place him among the likes of Jerry Rice, Marvin Harrison, Cris Carter, Tim Brown, Isaac Bruce and Terrell Owens. He is also within reach of 100 receiving touchdowns. If he meets that mark he will be only the eighth player in NFL history to reach that plateau.
Here are some of Ward's accolades over the years.
- 1,000 receiving yards in six seasons
- Four Pro-Bowls
- Three second team All-Pro nominations
- Two-time Super Bowl Champion
- Super Bowl XL MVP
- 2003 Steelers team MVP
- 2002 and 2005 Steelers team co-MVP
On top of all of Ward’s receiving accolades, he is known as the best run-blocking wide receiver in the NFL. He plays with a ferocity that has, at times, been mistaken as playing dirty.
His passion on the field is matched only by his compassion off the field. Ward started the 'Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation' to help mixed-race children in South Korea.
Biracial and multiracial children are considered inferior to other youths in Korea. Ward is fighting to change the social attitudes of Koreans to better the lives of mixed-race children living in the country.
Ward is going to be an integral part of the Pittsburgh offense this season. Despite his advancing age, Ward has continued to post impressive statistics. At 34, he is approaching several career milestones that can be added to his already impressive resume.
It is very likely that one day, after his career in the NFL has concluded, he will be immortalized in Canton.