By Rick Dayton

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hines Ward has played 14 years in the NFL, won 2 Super Bowls and has been named a Super Bowl MVP

He has plenty of reasons to smile and that is what makes Ward a perfect choice for an organization called Positive Athlete.

“My nickname growing up was Mickey Mouse because I loved playing football and I’m always happy all the time,” Ward said.

For Ward, a positive attitude is as natural as eating, sleeping and breathing.

“It symbolizes something. To the guys who tackle me, I think it’s more demoralizing for them, seeing they put a crushing hit on me and I get up smiling. Then, at the same time, for the people watching me, they are like ‘Man, that guy really enjoys playing football,’” Ward said.

That is why he is starting a group called Positive Athlete. It is a group of high-character professionals who promote the benefits of positivity and he credits a math teacher named Ms Garner.

“Made me sit in front of the class, she pulled my pants up every time I walked into the classroom, pulled up my shirt and tucked my shirt in. She was like, ‘You know what? You are a leader here – regardless of – you may not want to be, but you are and I want other people – I want you to send a positive message to your peers,’” Ward said.

Positive Athlete is not just a football thing and it is not just for boys. The athletes believe it is crucial to shape life skills of young athletes.

“I wasn’t even the most talented guy on my football team. There were a lot of guys who had more talent. I just think their negative attitude and the ways they blamed everybody for their mistakes, I think is what separated us,” Ward said.


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