Ward not given pay cut option

The Pittsburgh Steelers were ready to move on from Hines Ward, enough that they did not offer him the option of staying by taking a pay cut, says Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Ward, the Steelers all-time receptions leader, was scheduled to make $4 million in base salary in 2012, far too much for a receiver who had tumbled to fourth on the depth chart.

Ward released the following statement through his attorney, Andy Ree.

"This isn't how I wanted this chapter of my career to end,'' Ward said in the statement. "I did everything in my power to remain a Steeler and finish what I started here 14 years ago.

"I want to thank the organization, my teammates and coaches and everyone who made my run as a Steeler the best years of my life. To Mr. Rooney [he did not specify whether he meant Dan or Art ], thank you for allowing me to play for one of the greatest organizations in the world. To my fans and in particular, Steeler Nation, thank you for your support and all the great memories.

" I gave my heart and soul for you every down and I will always bleed black and gold. I do feel that I still have more football left in me and I am looking forward to playing in the NFL, again, this upcoming season."

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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com

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