By Rick Dayton

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Hines Ward has not been a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers since he announced his retirement after the 2011 season.

But, that doesn’t mean the former star receiver hasn’t kept in touch with the team.

One thing is for sure, Hines Ward was never one to sit around and wait.

“All the great players I played against and seeing my name on that list is kind of, you get all giddy on the inside,” Ward said.

But all he can do now is wait after learning this week is his one of the players nominated for enshrinement in the NFL Hall of Fame in Canton.

“You don’t play the game to someday say that I am going to be in the Hall of Fame. I just played my butt off as hard as I could. It’s a huge honor to kind of be on the list,” he said.

This past summer, instead of thinking about what size his gold jacket might be, he was coaching Steelers receivers at training camp.

“I didn’t really realize how much I missed the game until I came back. Just driving back up to Latrobe and seeing all of where it kind of all started, the foundation put in by the players and coaches to get the season started,” Ward said.

As a player, Ward was often thought of as a coach on the field. He admits, there were times this summer he wanted to be back on the field.

“Going into Heinz Field, but as a coach, I mean you still get fired up. I still look out there and said, ‘Man let me show you guys. Get out of the way. Let me show you guys how to do it,’” he said.

So, what does Ward expect from his old team when they open the home portion of their schedule this weekend?

“We don’t need to overreact to things about how things went with Cleveland, but Minnesota is going to be a tough task. We always pride ourselves in playing at Heinz Field and try to dominate the home series, and we don’t want to lose at home,” he said.

The Steelers and Vikings kickoff Sunday at 1 p.m.