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Hines Ward still thriving for Steelers at 35
Though he knows his window is closing, don’t think it’s close to being shut.
“I can’t change my age, I know I’m 35,” Ward said. “That’s the story but for me it’s just a matter of just staying healthy.”
And Ward says he’s never felt better. While his teammates sat at home during the NFL lockout wondering when they’d get back to work, Ward was cha-chaing his way to the mirror ball trophy on “Dancing With the Stars.”
He’s reluctant to say all that two-stepping helped his footwork, but it certainly didn’t hurt. The glow of the victory, however, was tarnished by his arrest on a DUI charge in July. He apologized for the distraction but maintains his innocence.
If the arrest is a distraction, it doesn’t show. He’s on pace to top 60 receptions for the 11th time in his career, something Steeler greats John Stallworth and Lynn Swann combined to do five times, though Ward is quick to point out they have four Super Bowl rings and he has just two.
How many more rings, catches and well-choreographed touchdown dances does Ward have left? He’s not sure. Ward is signed through 2013, when he’ll be 37. If he stays injury free, he can see himself playing beyond that, though he cautions he won’t stick around along as fellow “Dancing With the Stars” alum Jerry Rice, who was catching passes until he was 42.
“I won’t play that long, trust me,” Ward said. “I take it one year at a time. When I look up and I’m going against a guy that I’m supposed to be getting open against all the time and I’m not, I’ll walk away from the game.”
By Brahma Chellaney
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