Hines Ward's Career Numbers Approaching Hall of Fame Caliber

David KlinglerCorrespondent IApril 20, 2009

PITTSBURGH - JANUARY 18:  Hines Ward #86 of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts after he made a 45-yard reception in the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Championship game on January 18, 2009 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Hines Ward had another solid season in 2008.  He led the Steelers with 81 catches for 1,043 yards and seven touchdowns.

It was his fifth thousand-yard season in eleven years as a pro.  He just doesn't seem to be slowing down.

Ward's career numbers stand at 800 catches for 9,780 yards and 72 touchdowns, all Steeler records.  If he can stay healthy, it is not out of the question to think he could play another three seasons.

Hines has averaged over the last five seasons a pretty respectable 75 catches for 945 yards and seven touchdowns.  If he could come anywhere close to that, after another three seasons, Ward would eclipse 1,000 catches.  That would rank among the top ten all-time.

He would also have over 12,000 yards, which would rank among the top fifteen all-time, and he would have in the neighborhood of 90-plus touchdowns, also in the top ten all-time.

Still not convinced?  OK, let's look at his postseason numbers.

This past postseason Hines caught nine passes for 168 yards to bring his career postseason totals to 76 catches for 1,064 yards and eight touchdowns.  That ranks fourth all-time in the postseason.

Considering the Steelers' recent success, he could improve upon those numbers in the next few seasons.  Once again, it is not inconceivable for him to move into second on the all-time list behind the immortal Jerry Rice with a couple more solid playoff runs.

Some other numbers for the Hall of Fame voters to think about are his four Pro Bowl appearances, two super bowl championships, and MVP of Super Bowl XL.

But, the numbers alone do not define Hines Ward.  He is the ideal team player.  He is probably the greatest blocking receiver in the game today.  Ward is feared by many opposing defenders around the NFL for his toughness and aggressive blocking.

His style of play even brought about a rule change (see Mel Blount).

I would like to think if Hines plays a few more seasons that he would be at least in consideration for the Hall of Fame.  If I only had a vote.


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