Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward recently completed the Kona Ironman Triathlon, finishing in 13 hours, 8 minutes and 15 seconds. Ward spoke with NFL Evolution about the experience. A few of his comments are below and the full interview can be viewed at Hines Ward Ironman.
How is your body feeling after completing the Kona Ironman Triathlon almost two weeks ago?
I’m still a little sore. I’m back to running. I just ran six miles yesterday. It was the first time that I ran since the triathlon. I worked the Notre Dame (versus USC game) last Saturday (for NBC) and got on the elliptical machine that morning. That was really the first time that I actually did any (exercise since Kona), but it took me a while to recover. There’s no question about that.
What was it that made you try endurance sports and when did you make that decision to compete in Kona?
My agent … presented an opportunity from “Got Chocolate Milk,” which I already represented. I’ve done a milk mustache ad before. The opportunity presented itself for me to participate in the Ironman World Championships out in Kona with their help. At the time I was probably naïve and stupid, really not knowing what goes into an Ironman and becoming an endurance athlete. I think so many people out there don’t know what it takes to do a triathlon. It’s a grueling sport and it definitely earned my respect going into it. I was kind of dumb-founded by really not knowing how long a 2.4 mile swim and how long a 112-mile bike ride would take. I kind of knew about a marathon, but to do it all in one day is grueling. Now, having done it and finished the Ironman in Kona, I just get a newfound respect for all of the triathletes out there because I know what they’re going through.
There are shorter lengths of triathlons — sprint, Olympic and half Ironman. Did you participate in any of those while training for Kona?
I did one of each. I really just started training in February, so it was less than eight months. I did a sprint triathlon in San Diego in early March. I did an Olympic down in St. Petersburg, Fla. And then I did a half Ironman in Kansas during the summer. I did one of everything to get kind of a simulation of what Kona was going to be like. Even while I was in Kona, it was still overwhelming. Luckily for me, I got a celebrity exemption to get in (Kona). … But to be around all of the pros from every age group, it was overwhelming. But at the same time it was great to be on the course with some of the greatest endurance athletes from all over the world.
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When former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward sets his mind to do something, you can be sure he is going to see it through to the end, even if it is the most grueling sporting event in existence.
And he did just that on Saturday, finishing the 2013 Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii in 13 hours, eight minutes and 15 seconds. In addition, UPMC and Steelers’ neurosurgeon Dr. Joseph Maroon completed his ninth Ironman in 16 hours, three minutes, and 48 seconds.
The Ironman, a 140.6 mile swim, bike and run triathlon is known as the “Super Bowl” of triathlon, an event only the best of the best normally participate in. Ward finished the 2.4 mile ocean swim in 1:20:01, while completing the 112 mile bike portion in 6:21:12. Ward completed the Ironman competition finishing the 26.2 mile race in 5:12:56.
Ward competed as a part of BECOME ONE, sponsored by Got Chocolate Milk, pushing himself to limits he didn’t know was possible.
“People ask why I want to put my body through the pain,” said Ward in advance of the Ironman. “But it’s a sense of satisfaction if I can cross that finish line. What a great accomplishment that would be.
“When I get at the starting line I know I am not going to win the race, but it’s all about finishing.”
Ward did what he set out to do, he finished.
Tags: Hines Ward, Ironman
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Former Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward made a guest appearance on AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” but you would have to watch closely to know it was him.
Ward underwent a transformation to be a zombie on the show, which aired on Sunday night.
“It was an amazing experience,” said Ward. “Just being in makeup preparing me for my role was cool. I actually scared myself when I looked in the mirror for the first time after.”
Ward previously appeared on ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” and the Food Network show “Rachael vs. Guy,” as well as having a cameo in “The Dark Knight Rises,” in a scene filmed at Heinz Field.
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Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is training for the 2013 Ironman World Championship triathlon, a grueling event that includes swimming, biking and running. Ward has teamed with REFUEL | ‘got chocolate milk?’ for the Become One, program as he prepares for the endurance race in Kona, Hawaii.
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Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is joining a new team for the upcoming football season, the NBC Sports team. Ward will be a part of the network’s Football Night in America Sunday night show as well as other NFL related roles.
“We think Hines is a perfect match for television because he brings with him a unique combination of charisma and football experience, which he demonstrated on our Super Bowl pre-game show from Indianapolis,” said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network in a release that was issued to announce Ward’s hiring. “He’s an opinionated personality who can draw upon his 14 years of experience, having excelled at the highest levels of the game. Just don’t expect him to dance.”
Ward will also appear on NBC SportsTalk with Mike Florio and Sports Illustrated’s Peter King on NBC Sports Network.
“I am really excited,” said Ward via the release. “It’s not every day that you get the chance to work for a powerhouse like the NBC Sports Group. It is a big honor for me and I am looking forward to making the most of this great opportunity.”
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There are a lot of great options, so take your pick and let us know who you think is the Steelers best third-round draft pick since 1970.
Be sure to vote on the LBs poll as well.
Tags: 2012 NFL Draft, Hines Ward, Joel Steed, Joey Porter, Mel Blount, Mike Wallace, NFL Draft, Steelers Draft
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Steelers’ wide receiver Hines Ward will be featured in the documentary NFL Characters Unite where he shares his personal story of dealing with prejudice to aid teens that are facing similar situations.
Ward, along with Falcons tight end Tony Gonzalez, Saints tight end Jimmie Graham and former Colts head coach Tony Dungy, will share stories in the one hour documentary on USA Network on Friday, Feb. 10 at 7 p.m., while at the same time sharing the story of a teen going through a similar fight.
Ward, who had to deal with discrimination as a child because he is biracial, is teamed with Carlton Dennis, a junior at Clairton High School who is originally from Trinidad. Dennis has faced discrimination and through his relationship with Ward and the Hear Me Project composed an anti-discrimination rap song that is available through iTunes.
Tags: Carlton Dennis, Hines Ward, NFL Characters Unite
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WR HINES WARD
On his thoughts on CB Ike Taylor
“I just feel bad. [CB] Ike [Taylor] has been playing his tail off all year long. We as teammates are always going to have his back. We lost this collectively. We are never going to say it came down to one player to lose a game. We win as a team, we lose as a team. With the overtime rules, it was a first time for most. They did what they had to do. They got the first drive and they went down and scored a touchdown. Consequently, it’s over with.”
On if he is stunned
“Stunned, yeah, it’s shocking. I never thought that one play all the way down the field for a touchdown in the first overtime; that was more shocking than anything. We were preparing for what we were going to do when we got the ball back more than anything; whether it was going to be a short field or what not. Thinking our defense would get us back on the field after a three-and-out and get the ball back. I was talking amongst all the receivers, just going over some plays, we look up and the guy is running down the field for a touchdown. That’s how fast it happens. That’s just a part of this business. You’ll be at an all-time high one second and the next second later you’ll be at an all-time low. It was a great comeback for us to even take them to overtime. We just missed out on some opportunities and plays.”
On if he thought they were going to win it at the end of regulation
“Yeah, I really thought so. [WR] Emmanuel [Sanders] made a huge catch and we had the ball at the 50 (yard line). Unfortunately we went backwards and then at the end of that last drive [CB] Champ [Bailey] just made a great play. I was thinking we had 12, maybe 18, seconds on the clock, I could catch toward the sideline. I kind of adjusted my route to try to shorten up and get to the sideline. Champ at the last minute tipped it away. It was just one of those ‘what if’ or ‘almost’ plays. That’s a part of playoff football, a game of inches. I catch that and we’re in field goal range, who knows? Maybe it all comes out different. Like I said, it’s just very shocking. We were over there talking and the next thing I know the crowd is going wild, they’re scoring a touchdown and ending the ball game.”
On his thoughts on next season
“No, I’m not even thinking about that. My heart is towards my teammates and towards this game. There are a lot of guys in this locker room battling injuries. To end it like that in overtime, to go 12-4 and have it come down to an overtime loss the way it did is sad. This will stick with (us) a lot as one of the worst games we ever lost. I thought last year losing the Super Bowl, but this is fresh on our minds and the way we lost is disappointing.”
On his future in the NFL
“I’m not even thinking about that.”
On the pass play that was tipped by Bailey
“It was all go. With 18 seconds I was trying to let [WR] Mike [Wallace] get down the field, hoping all of the guys would jump on him and I tried to sneak out on the sideline. Champ didn’t have any responsibility. It was Cover 2, he drifted back and right when the ball was coming he made a play. If he doesn’t even touch the ball, I catch it, I run out of bounds, we may have maybe eight seconds left on the clock and a possible field goal. It would have been a long one, but at Mile High, those guys are kicking it all day…Champ made a great play. He missed an opportunity, had a chance to end the game with an interception down there, but he didn’t do it. He came back. He started laughing at me, saying ‘I’m not going to let you catch that ball,’ I catch it and get and get out of bounds, there’s maybe eight or six seconds left. At least it would have given us a chance. Champ is a great cornerback. He adjusted his coverage and kind of pushed back further than he had to and made a play on the ball.”
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Friday, January 6
The outpouring of concern from Steelers fans regarding running backs coach Kirby Wilson is greatly appreciated. Steelers’ president Art Rooney II issued a statement regarding Wilson.
On the football side of things, cornerback Cortez Allen (shoulder) and running back Mewelde Moore (knee) have officially been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Broncos. Center Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) is listed as questionable, missing practice for the second straight day on Friday.
LB James Harrison (toe), DE Brett Keisel (groin), G Doug Legursky (shoulder), S Troy Polamalu (calf), QB Ben Roethlisberger (ankle), T Jonathan Scott (back),and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) are all probable for the game and were all full participants in practice on Friday.
Pouncey and Polamalu both received good news as they were both named to the AP All-Pro first team.
Friday was declared “Black and Gold Day” by Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Rich Fitzgerald. There is plenty of black and gold on display by the Steelers staff, and a rally in downtown Pittsburgh brought out hundreds of Steelers fans.
The team had an early practice on Friday and former Steelers wide receiver and Hall of Famer Lynn Swann stopped by the take it in, talking with young receiver Antonio Brown for a few minutes on the sideline.
During the open locker room session after practice a reporter said to Hines Ward, “Everyone forgets about their defense, it’s overshadowed by the Tebow-mania.” Ward quickly corrected him.
“Who forgot about them,” asked Ward. “We didn’t forget about their defense. You guys can talk Tebow all day, but offensively I look at that tape and their defense is solid. It’s going to be a tough challenge for us.
“They play well at home. Their crowd is going to get into it. It’s an important game.”
Brett Keisel’s beard is one that has become legendary, but he isn’t the only one who has been growing some facial hair. Punter Jeremy Kapinos has a beard as of late, something he started to grow when the Steelers played the San Francisco 49ers and has kept since he has been punting well – and he likes the low maintenance aspect of it.
“I looked back at pictures from the Super Bowl last year and thought if it worked then, I should keep it,” said Kapinos. “I am a big comfort guy. It helps keep me warm. It’s comfortable when I put the chin strap on. It’s low maintenance. I don’t have to do anything in the morning. It feels good.”
While he likes the beard, he said no way is it anywhere close to what Keisel has.
“It’s like night and day,” said Kapinos. “He gave us all shirts with his on it. I will never get to that level. Right now I just have a little baby beard.”
When asked about the Steelers record on the road this year, which is 5-3, Max Starks joked saying the team only lost once on the road since he was re-signed by the Steelers.
Starks knows, though, that the challenge of going on the road in the playoffs is a tough one but is hoping the Steelers experience will benefit them.
“I think this group is battle tested,” said Starks. “This is where experience pays off, in the playoffs. It is single elimination football now. I think we have enough veterans in this room that have been in the playoffs and on the road in the playoffs that know how to handle it. I think the younger guys lean on us for experience. We have had our bumps and bruises and we have had a lot of rotation at a lot of different positions. This has set us up for this opportunity. If some guy goes down, every guy on our team has just about some type of starting or special teams experience this season. There is really not a guy on the active roster that doesn’t.”
Antonio Brown and Lynn Swann
Steelers equipment packed and ready to go to Denver.
Cam Heyward was a guest on Steelers.com Live @ 4 this week with Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley.
Jeremy Kapinos growing beard
Marcel Pastoor helps to stretch Heath Miller
Troy Polamalu and Ryan Clark
Tags: Antonio Brown, Hines Ward, Lynn Swann, Max Starks, Steelers Injury Report, Steelers Playoff Diary
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Thursday, January 5
The news of the day came from the injury report following practice, with CB Cortez Allen (shoulder), LB James Harrison (toe), DE Brett Keisel (groin), RB Mewelde Moore (knee), S Troy Polamalu (calf), and C Maurkice Pouncey (ankle) not practicing.
Pouncey said his ankle started bothering him again after practicing this week.
“I practiced the other day and toward the end I got sore,” said Pouncey. “Today, I came in and my ankle was real sore, so I don’t know what the turnout is going to be. Right now, I’m not practicing.
“I’m aggravated with it. I’m kind of stressed about it. I mean an injury prolonged this long is aggravating. Hopefully, I can push through it and see how this week goes.”
There was some good news, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) was a full participant in practice along with G Doug Legursky (shoulder) and LB LaMarr Woodley (hamstring), both practicing for the second straight day.
On the fun side, another college bowl game, another day of bragging rights for a Steelers linebacker. This time it was Mortty Ivy who was sporting a West Virginia sweatshirt and boasting about his Mountaineers victory over the Clemson Tigers at breakfast on Thursday morning.
But there was one player who wasn’t so happy with the Mountaineers 70-33 Orange Bowl win – receiver Tyler Grisham. Grisham went to Clemson and wasn’t too happy he had to wear a West Virginia t-shirt courtesy of Ivy.
“It’s pretty painful, mainly because I have to wear it for three days,” said Grisham. “It’s an hour spurt here and there. Actually the West Virginia emblem is a little small so I can hide it with my backpack or jacket or something. It’s not too bad. But I would have liked to have given him the Clemson shirt to wear.
“I would have given him an extra small to wear, which would have been worse. I am wearing a 3XL and I look like a little child.”
Jerricho Cotchery is a newcomer to the Steelers, but not to the post-season. As a matter of fact when he was with the New York Jets he lost to the Steelers twice in the post-season, including the AFC Championship game last year at Heinz Field.
During his Steelers Speak interview, where he opens up about a lot of topics and can be seen by clicking on Steelers Speak, I asked Cotchery if coming to Pittsburgh is a “if you can’t beat them, join them,” scenario.
“It may be a little of that,” laughed Cotchery. “I just know that these guys know what it takes to get to the Super Bowl and to win. There are a lot of veteran guys, veteran leadership. There are a lot of guys that got a lot of experience last year, even the young guys. There are guys that know what it takes to get there and win it. My rookie year was a bad experience coming here and the kicker missing two field goals. Last year was even tougher losing the AFC Championship game. I am happy to be here, I am happy to be with this team.”
Cotchery also talked about what makes the Steelers a special organization.
“It’s just a true family atmosphere. That is the thing I see,” said Cotchery. “Everyone looks after one another. There is no one that is bigger than the family. Every guy is approachable, you can speak to everyone. There are no egos. It’s just a true family atmosphere. It’s unique.”
To watch the complete interview and learn a lot more about Cotchery, click on Steelers Speak.
Injured running back Jonathan Dwyer was at the practice facility on Thursday and instead of wondering “what if” in regards to him getting more playing time if he were healthy, he instead was feeling bad for Rashard Mendenhall.
“I am sad about what happened to Rashard,” said Dwyer. “He was doing well. He has been healthy the majority of his career. I hope he heals as fast as he can so he can be the player he is. Hopefully the guys who are out there now take advantage of the opportunity.”
Former NFL safety John Lynch, who played for the Denver Broncos and also the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when Mike Tomlin was the secondary coach there, was at the Steelers facility today interviewing Tomlin and linebackers James Farrior and James Harrison.
Lynch chatted with me for a bit about Tomlin (you can read what he said about Tomlin by clicking here), but he also talked about the atmosphere in Denver, where he still lives.
“There hasn’t been the excitement about being in the playoffs because more people are talking about them backing in,” said Lynch. “I was a part of a Denver Broncos team that watched a sixth seed Steelers team come in and beat us in our place. I think you get in that tournament and special things can happen. I wouldn’t count them out and being around these Steelers, I know they aren’t.”
Jerricho Cotchery getting ready for Steelers Speak interview.
Antonio Brown is surrounded by the media.
And then turns the tables as he does a weekly feature for Steelers Live @ 4. Brown interviews Ramon Foster, who holds a fake dog, as Brown has a fear of dogs.
Brown interviews Emmanuel Sanders….
…and then Sanders takes the mic.
The Steelers secondary was presented a cake for being the No. 1 pass defense in the NFL.
Safety Ryan Clark took control of a camera before practice, taking pictures of Mike Wallace.
The finished product – Clark’s photo of Wallace
LaMarr Woodley and Lawrence Timmons before practice
Tags: Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Hines Ward, Jerricho Cotchery, John Lynch, Jonathan Dwyer, LaMarr Woodley, Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Tomlin, Ryan Clark, Steelers Injury Report, Steelers Playoff Diary
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Monday, January 2
The Steelers were back at work on Monday attending meetings and hitting the weight room, getting ready for their playoff journey.
Hines Ward sat down for an interview that will be seen on Steelers.com, sharing with us his thoughts on his 1,000th career reception. Ward also showed off the football that was the 1000th catch, something that he is sure to keep for a long time.
Ward has caught passes from 13 different players during his career, including Kordell Stewart, Mike Tomczak, Jerome Bettis, Pete Gonzalez, Kent Graham, Tommy Maddox, Antwaan Randle El, Charlie Batch, Ben Roethlisberger, Dennis Dixon, Cedrick Wilson, Byron Leftwich and Emmanuel Sanders. Ward rattled off the list for us during the interview, but even he missed a few of them – not naming Wilson or Gonzalez, whose only NFL completion was to Ward.
Several players stopped by the team’s media room after meetings to talk about this week’s game, including linebacker James Farrior who weighed in on Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.
“I have to admit that I was a fan of ‘Tebow Time,’” said Farrior. “I’ve been watching and cheering him on, but it’s totally different now.”
Farrior said like many he has paid attention to all of the talk about the quarterback who has become known for his late game heroics.
“Just all the media hype about it, a lot of people hated on him,” said Farrior. “I root for the underdogs. He was sort of an underdog. A lot of the coaches and staff members were on his case. I don’t think they really believed in him. I think he showed it, and they believed in him.”
Tags: Heath Miller, Hines Ward, James Farrior, Max Starks, Steelers Playoff Diary
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Wide receiver Hines Ward became just the 8th player in NFL history to have 1,000 career receptions.
Ward came into the Browns game needing five receptions, and had two in the first half and three in the second half.
“It’s definitely a huge accomplishment,” said Ward. “All week I was saying I just want to win. Winning meant more to me than anything. Today was a double win for me, not only beating the Cleveland Browns on the road to finish the season 12-4, but to be the 8th guy in NFL history to catch 1,000 balls, that’s big. All in all it’s a great night and I am looking forward to going to the playoffs.”
He caught a pass for a loss of three yards from Ben Roethlisberger for the 1,000 reception. He has five receptions for 24 yards on the day.
“It didn’t matter,” said Ward of how he got the 1,000th reception. “The minus three yards, that was the happiest minus catch I ever had. It didn’t matter to me. I was nervous going into it; there was no question about it. I really wanted to do it this year. But it was about putting team first rather than individual goals. But 1,000 catches and over 12,000 and doing it all with this great organization is special.”
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WR Hines Ward
Comments on Charlie Batch
“It’s awesome. For him to come out [and] execute our plays speaks volumes about Charlie. I was excited for him [and] happy for him. If need be, maybe we can give Ben [Roethlisberger] another week to get his ankle healed up before we head into the postseason.”
Antonio Brown broke the franchise record for all-purpose yards that dated back to Barry Foster in 1992. Can you talk about his year?
“It’s phenomenal, considering where the kid came from – his whole story – and now here he is. When he touches the ball, special things always happen. I haven’t seen somebody with that big-play capability since Randle El. Every time, on punt returns, I stand up because it could be the one to take [to the endzone]. So hopefully, he will continue to gain confidence in the playoffs and make a name for himself in the postseason.”
Where is he this year as opposed to last year?
“Night and day, just seeing him, his confidence level [and] his understanding. We’re always constantly working with him to help him better understand coverages. The kid is just a hard worker. That’s what I love about him. He’s passionate [and] he always wants to outwork everybody. He’s always asking me questions and stuff. So he’s just a great student of the game. When I guy like that, with that potential, has that will to get better each day you step on the practice field, good things will always happen to him.”
Tags: Hines Ward
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Tony Dovolani, one of the professional dancers from ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, is at the Steelers-Browns game. Dovalani was on the sidelines pregame watching Dancing with the Stars champion Hines Ward during warm-ups. Dovalani was at the Steelers practice facility earlier in the day, getting a tour and meeting general manager Kevin Colbert.
Tags: Dancing with the Stars, Hines Ward, Kevin Colbert, Tony Dovolani
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After a 12-yard reception in the second quarter, Hines Ward now has 12,008 career receiving yards, becoming the first Steelers player to reach the 12,000 yard mark and only the 19th player in NFL history to do so.
After the game Ward talked about reaching the milestone:
“It was great” said Ward. “To surpass 12,000 yards, to do it at home and to beat the Cincinnati Bengals, today was a trifecta. It was a good all-around day. Twelve thousand yards [is] not bad for – Mike [Wallace] was teasing me on the sideline – that’s not bad for a lot of option routes and choice routes. That’s a lot of passes, considering I don’t really go deep all the time. It was an amazing feat. Ben [Roethlisberger] gave me an opportunity to make plays. And the offensive line gave him enough time to pass the ball. It was just great to do it at home. Twelve thousands yards is 19th all time. That’s crazy.”
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Wide receiver Hines Ward is nominated for the 2012 NFLPA Pulse Awards in the Endurance category, rewarding a player for a career distinguished by longevity, durability and consistency.
It is part of the Fans Choice award, so Steelers fans can vote five times per day through mid-December by clicking on Vote for Hines.
Fans who vote are also eligible to win prizes.
Tags: Hines Ward, pulse awards
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