NFL star Hines Ward retired from his longtime career with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday. The Steelers wide receiver announced the news during an emotional press conference in Pittsburgh.
"Today I'm officially retiring with the Pittsburgh Steelers. As much as I will miss football, my teammates, coaches, and everything about the game, I don't want to play it in any other uniform. The black and gold runs deep in me," Ward shared.
Ward had an extremely successful career playing for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 14 seasons. He leaves the team as its all-time leader in receptions, touchdown receptions, and receiving yardage. He has two Super Bowl rings and was voted as the MVP Super Bowl XL. Ward ranks eighth in the entire league for his 1,000 career catches.
At the press conference, Ward shared that he still felt as though he had several years left to play the game, but knew it would be wrong to do so outside of the team that had given him the opportunity to showcase and build upon his skills.
"I feel like I have a few more good years in me left. I would love nothing more to get back to the Super Bowl," Ward said.
"(But) I want to go down as one of the greats to wear the black and gold and that's how it should end," he added. "I can say I'm a Steeler for life and that's the bottom line, that's all I've really ever wanted."
Ward, who was born in South Korea to an African American father and a Korean mother, began his football career playing for the University of Georgia.
He has severed as a figure for change in South Korea, where his status as a successful American football star has enabled him to further dialog in the country on issues such as discrimination against children of mixed races.
In 2006, Ward donated $1 million to set up the Hines Ward Helping Hands Foundation in Seoul. Ward has a sister foundation in the United States where he works with inner city youth in the Atlanta and Pittsburgh areas.