By: Chris Gates

PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — One day after the Steelers were ousted from the playoffs by Denver, rumors swirled regarding Hines Ward and his future plans.

Originally it was reported by that “the expectations around the team was that Ward would soon announce his retirement.”

That rumor was quickly shot down by Ward, who took to his facebook page with this message:

“I wanted take a moment to thank all of Steeler Nation for the love and support. I’m sorry for the disappointing loss. I’m still depressed about it. We had a great year finishing 12-4 but our ultimate goal was to win the Super Bowl and we fell short. Hats off to Denver. I’m also getting lots of questions about retirement so let me set the record straight: I have no plans on retiring right now. I want to win another Superbowl. I don’t know where the media is getting this info from but rest assured that when I decide to retire, you’ll hear it from ME first. – HINES”

Ward turns 36 in March and many expect his career is done with the Steelers, whether it’s his choice or not. Ward was systematically fazed out of the offensive game plan as 2011 wore on.

Jerricho Cotchery emerged as a better option at wide receiver, and he took Ward’s place behind Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown and Emmanuel Sanders on the depth chart. Ward finished the season with just 46 catches — his lowest total since catching just 15 balls in 1998, his rookie season.

Ward has 1,000 career receptions — only the eighth player in NFL history to achieve such a feat.

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