Hines Ward signed a five-year contract extension with the Pittsburgh Steelers on April 25, 2009, which will keep the wide receiver with the current Super Bowl champions through the 2013. Like him or not, this NFL veteran has enjoyed a remarkable career.
Born March 8, 1976 in Seoul, South Korea, Ward was chosen with the 92nd pick in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He is the Steelers all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving TDs. Ward became the first Steelers player to catch 100 passes (112) in a season and he is the only receiver in the franchise’s history to be voted to four Pro Bowls. Ward also was named to the Steelers’ 75th Season All-Time Team in 2007.
With the Steelers, Ward has amassed five seasons with 1,000 receiving yards. His most recent came in 2008, when he compiled 1,043 yards on 81 catches and scored seven touchdown passes. Statistically, he had his best season in 2002, when he tallied 1,329 receiving yards and caught a career high 12 TD passes. In 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Ward has totaled 9,780 receiving yards and 72 receiving TDs.
No slouch in the playoffs, Ward was named the MVP of Super Bowl XL, when he tallied 123 yards and a TD on five receptions in the Steelers 21-10 win over the Seattle Seahawks. He scored on a 43-TD strike from wide receiver Antwaan Randle El in the fourth quarter. Ward holds the distinction of being the first Korean-American to be named Super Bowl MVP. Despite suffering from a knee injury, a hobbled Ward had two catches for 43 yards in Super Bowl XLIII against the Arizona Cardinals.
Collegiately, Ward played for the University of Georgia from 1995-1998. For the Bulldogs, Ward was a versatile player. Primarily a wide receiver, he also was used as a tailback and quarterback, totaling 3,870 all-purpose yards at Georgia. He ranks fifth on the Bulldogs all-time list for career receptions with 144. In 1997, he caught 55 passes and scored six TDs, earning All-SEC honors.
In high school, Ward was a dual threat playing for Forest Park High School in Forest Park, Georgia. Ward threw for 3,581 yards and 38 TDs. He also rushed for 2,500 yards and 29 touchdowns during his three-year high school career.
While Ward is an outstanding receiver, he also is an advocate for social change. With his mother who is Korean, Ward visited his birthplace after being named Super Bowl MVP. Ward, who sports a tattoo on his right arm with his name spelled in the Korean alphabet, used his new found influence to promote equality in the country by donating $1 million to establish the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation. The foundation is a charity to help multiethnic children in Korea.