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.