Hines Ward, from Forest Park High and the University of Georgia, was announced as one of 27 semifinalist for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Tuesday. It’s the second time the wide receiver, who played 14 NFL seasons with the Steelers, has been a semifinals for enshrinement. He also was a semifinals last year.
Fifteen finalists will be announced in January before enshrines are selected on the eve of the Super Bowl on Feb. 3.
There are currently 25 wide receivers in the Hall of Fame. The most recent inductee at the position was Marvin Harrison in 2016. Ward is one of five wide receivers up for induction this year with Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, Randy Moss and Terrell Owens.
Ward was a third-round pick (No. 92 overall) in the 1998 NFL Draft. He spent his entire career with the Steelers and retired in 2011.
Here is the Hall of Fame case for Ward:
- He is No. 14 in NFL history in career receptions with 1,000. That’s more than 20 Hall of Fame wide receivers including Andre Reed, Art Monk, Steve Largent and Shannon Sharpe. At the time of his retirement, he was one of only 13 players all-time with at least 1,000 receptions.
- He is No. 25 in NFL history in career receiving yardage at 12,083. Nine of the players with more career yards are already in the Hall of Fame.
- He is tied for No. 15 in NFL history in receiving touchdowns with 85. He is tied with Hall of Famers Lance Alworth and Paul Warfield and just behind Hall of Famers Don Maynard (88) and Andre Reed (87).
- He was the MVP of Super Bowl XL in 2005 in which the Steelers defeated the Seahawks 21-10. Ward caught a 43-yard game-winning touchdown. He finished with five catches for 123 yards and also rushed for 18 yards. He was also a member of the Steelers Super Bowl XLIII winning team.
- He was a four-time Pro Bowler from 2001-05.
- He was a three-time Second Team All-Pro selection from 2002-04.
- He had four straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2001-04. He missed the milestone in each of the next two seasons by a mere 25 yards each. The streak ended in 2005 when he missed one game to injury, the first of his career after playing every game in his first seven seasons. He also missed two games in 2006 to come up just short.
- He is the Steelers all-time receiving leader in yards, receptions and touchdowns.
- He is tied for fifth all-time in NFL history with five 2-point conversions.
- He is widely regarded as the best blocking receiver in NFL history.
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