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Hines Ward Says Steelers Offense Caused Hall of Fame Snub

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Hines Ward

Six straight years, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward has been a Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist, and six-straight years he has been snubbed an invitation into football’s greatest fraternity.

A logjam of outstanding wide receivers from the early 2000s worthy of Hall of Fame induction has certainly worked to Ward’s detriment.

If you ask Ward, he’ll tell you it is his lack of an All-Pro selection that is keeping him from Canton, which he blames on the Steelers’ run-heavy offense during his career.

“The feedback, or what I’ve been hearing, is that, ‘Well, you’re (weren’t) an All-Pro,’” Ward told CBS Sports. “Well, I wasn’t in an offense to be an All-Pro. We had All-Pro offensive linemen and we had All-Pro running backs because that’s what our offense was.”

While Ward does not have the coveted All-Pro nods to his name, he does have plenty of team accolades and successes that he believes should be taken into consideration just the same.

“To me, I don’t know what all goes into All-Pro,” Ward said. “One, when you’re not in an offense that’s catered to help you be an All-Pro receiver. And two, when you’ve got Randy Moss, Marvin Harrison, year in and year out, putting up outstanding stats. But that shouldn’t rain on my parade. I look at the guys that are on that list, and I feel like I should be in the mix with all those guys. … For people so sit there and say, ‘Well, he doesn’t have All-Pro,’ I just laugh and I chuckle because to me, that makes no sense.”

Still, he is thankful just to be considered among the game’s great receivers and is content to continue letting the selection process work itself out.

“I look at what I did in the 2000s,” Ward said. “To go to three Super Bowls, winning two. I was an intricate part of that team just as much as anybody within our organization. But as my mom always told me, only control what you can control. I can’t control (the Hall of Fame), so just having my name mentioned amongst some of the greats to ever wear the uniform, that’s a blessing in itself for me and that’s what I’ll hang my hat on, for now.”

Originally a third-round selection of the Steelers back in the 1998 NFL Draft, Ward played his entire 14-year career in Pittsburgh.

He is still the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yards (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). Ward is currently top-30 in all of those categories in league history as well.

Ward is currently set to serve as the head coach of the XFL’s San Antonio franchise upon the league’s relaunch in 2023. He is again a nominee for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023.

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