Hines Ward Retires: Not a Hall of Famer

Hines Ward made the Prob Bowl every year from 2001-2004.
Hines Ward made the Prob Bowl every year from 2001-2004. Reuters

Hines Ward officially retired from the NFL Tuesday afternoon.

The wide receiver made the announcement at a press conference, saying he didn't want to play for another NFL team.

The Steelers released Ward on Mar.1, after spending his entire 14-year career with Pittsburgh. Ward had one of his worst seasons in 2011, finishing with 46 receptions and 381 yards.

For much of his career, Ward has been known as one of the best wide outs in the league. He is eighth all-time in receptions, 13th in touchdown receptions and 18th with 1,000 career receiving yards. He is also known as one of the best blocking wide receivers to ever play the game.

With those career numbers, as well as two Super Bowl rings, many people feel Ward should be in the Hall of Fame. But when you take a closer look at Ward's overall stats, his career wasn't as impressive as some claim.

Ward had a long, successful career, but he was never one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

In 14 seasons, he had just six in which he caught more than 1,000 yards. He only finished in the top five in receiving yards and receptions once. He finished in the top 10 of receiving leaders just three times.

The Hall of Fame is reserved for players who were at the top of their position when they played. Ward was never close to being the best wide receiver in the game, and the case can be made that he was only in the top 10 for one two-year stretch.

Ward's career peaked in 2002 and 2003, when he finished with 1,329 and 1,163 receiving yards respectively. Other than those two seasons, he was a slightly above average wide out.

Being slightly above average doesn't get you into the Hall of Fame.

It would also be hard to justify putting in Ward above other deserving candidates, who have been ignored by the Hall of Fame committee in recent years.

Former Raider wide receiver Tim Brown finished his career in 2004, and he still hasn't been elected to the Hall of Fame. He has the fourth-most receiving yards ever, and has nine 1,000 yard seasons compared to Ward's six. Chris Carter is eighth on the all-time receiving list, and he has also been kept out of Canton.

Ward has made just four Pro Bowls, while Carter and Brown have been to eight and nine a piece. The Steelers wide out was one of the best players at his position for a very short period of time. Carter and Brown did it for most of their careers.

Ward is liked by many NFL fans and writers. He is a winner, and played the game hard for his whole career. However, the Hall of Fame doesn't simply reward people for playing hard.

Hines Ward had a very good career, but he's not one of the greats.

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