Chicago Sun-Times

Should Bears take a look at Hines Ward?

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The Bears should at least kick the tires on Hines Ward, the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who will be a free agent after the Pittsburgh Steelers announced they will release the 14-year veteran.

Ward is 35 and has a lot of miles on him. He had only 46 receptions for 381 yards (8.3 yards per catch) and two touchdowns last season. But there are enough extenuating circumstances surrounding his release that he's at least worth a look-see by a team like the Bears that needs a receiver who at least knows what it's like to be a No. 1, even if he isn't any longer.

For one thing, he suffered an ankle injury against the Cardinals in Week 7 last year that hampered him. His numbers diminished as Ben Roethlisberger gravitated to deep threats Mike Wallace and Antonio Brown. But Ward still caught nearly everything thrown his way. He was targeted 39 times in his last 11 games and had 33 receptions. In the Steelers final 12 regular-season games, they were 10-0 when Ward had a reception and 0-2 when he did not.

Ward played his college ball at Georgia, where current Bears wide receivers coach Darryl Drake was his receivers coach his first three seasons. The Bears haven't had a whole lot of luck rekindling the fire from legacy players -- Adam Archuleta, Orlando Pace, Roy Williams. And they are unlikely to try again here. But it should not be dismissed out of hand. Ward has intangibles that Williams does not.

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At this stage of his career, Ward is no more than a plodding possession guy who can't be a 1 or a 2 for a team. We already have a bunch of guys who can't get it done on the outside. Why spend the money to bring in a guy who is barely on life support from an NFL perspective? Ward was a very good player, but he has not been that guy in 3 years.

If Ward wanted to coach our receivers on running tough routes and blocking, that would be something, but he doesn't help our corps much as a player in his 15th year

I can see how bringing him in(with a small contract) could help our receivers by having a veteran type around. But other than

Tough call here. I remember too many times when Hines made catches on third and long against the Bears to write him off. He may be older, but he is still as tough as they come and plays all out every play, both as blocker and receiver. I agree that he is worth a look and could be valuable even sitting on the bench.29be8t

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This page contains a single entry by Mark Potash published on February 29, 2012 5:13 PM.

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