Ward: Enjoying Every Sunday

WR Hines Ward (Thomas E. Witte/Getty)

Veteran wide receiver Hines Ward talked to the Indianapolis media on a conference call on Wednesday. See what the longtime Steelers star had to say about developing his game to fit his team's style, how he's adjusting to Byron Leftwich, and more insight on his team and season inside!

On how his season is going:

"The season's going well. We're 6-2. I'm doing all I can when the opportunity presents itself. I continue making plays for my team."

On being a complete wide receiver, not just catching passes:

"In this offense, being a wide receiver, you're not going to get many opportunities here because we don't go out and sling the ball around unless we have to, unless we're behind or what not. When the opportunity presents itself in the passing game, you have to step up and make plays. And being that we run the ball so much, the receivers here are counted on to be run blockers as well. Our job is to make sure we take care of the eighth defender in the box, regardless if it's a safety or linebacker, whoever it is. That's our job here for the Pittsburgh Steelers. For me, I just take great pride in being an overall wide receiver, not only a guy that can catch the ball, catch touchdowns, but at the same time block as well, because I'm trying to win the Super Bowl."

On delivering a big block on Cincinnati LB-Keith Rivers and there not being anything wrong with it, it's just football:

"It's not. It is football. I didn't go out and deliver it and say I'm going to break the guy's jaw. It was just an unfortunate incident. I don't even think he had a mouthpiece in, so maybe that was the reason for what caused the jaw to be broken. But this is a violent game, it's a physical game, no question. I just take a different approach because I know if I go across the middle, those guys aren't going to tackle me softly. I just take a different approach: ‘I'm going to try to hit you before you hit me.'"

On safeties always apologizing when they hit him hard:

"Exactly. When I go to catch, I don't get any apologies when they hit me. It's a part of football. I just take a different approach than some of the receivers in the NFL."

On being impressed with QB-Byron Leftwich and if he thinks both he and Ben Roethlisberger can get the job done:

"I think so. I think Byron will earn the respect from the guys. Coming off the bench, signing on with the team late and trying to learn the offense, you can't ask more out of Byron, what he's done in trying to help this team. And guys who played against him, he was our nemesis for a while, so he's proven that he can get the job done. Ben's a warrior. He's going to go out there and fight. Whoever's in the game, either Ben or Byron, we feel confident that both quarterbacks can go out there and get the job done. And we're in a fortunate situation to have two great quarterbacks like that, where a lot of teams don't really have a backup as capable as Byron to go out there and lead the team. So he definitely earned his stripes last week when we won over Washington, and when the backup comes in, guys just go out there and try to elevate their game more to try to go out there and make more plays for him."

On Byron Leftwich throwing a hard ball:

"There's no question he throws a hard ball, but at the same time he has touch on it. He knows when to throw it hard or to put some touch on it. But like I said, to come in off the bench, really not getting a lot of reps at practice, and to go out there and lead us to victory in the second half really talks about what quality type of character and type of player Byron is."

On if he reflects back through his career, and how lucky he's been to have the type of career he has:

"Each and every Sunday I'm blessed to be able to put on a uniform and play. For me to achieve all the records here in Steelers history, being a wide receiver, having my name mentioned with the likes of (Lynn) Swann and (John) Stallworth, that's just a big honor itself. To be in my 11th year, it's definitely a big honor to be able to make it in this league that long when nobody really ever gave me a chance to say that I could last this long in the league. So I'm definitely going out there, that's why I'm always smiling. I'm enjoying each and every Sunday I get a chance to play on in the NFL."

On how much energy S-Troy Polamalu brings to the team:

"He's definitely a playmaker. Right before the game I'm always telling him, ‘We need at least two or three big plays out of you to really spark the whole team.' He's a quiet leader. He's not a vocal guy on the team, but he's giving 110 percent effort every time he's out on the field. And he's a great student of the game. He's constantly over there talking with receivers, ‘What is this guy trying to do if he's doing this?' He's just consistently continuing to get better and better, and that's a scary thought, because he really hasn't matched the potential of what he's playing. I mean, he's playing at a high level and he's still learning the game of football. (He's) definitely one of the top three safeties in the league. Each and every Sunday, you just see him popping up. He's creating havoc in the backfield for opposing quarterbacks. He's definitely one of the heart-and-soul players on our defense and on our team because he gets things going. Especially when we need somebody to make a play, he's usually always around the ball."

On Polamalu not being a rah-rah guy:

"No, he's not. It's like when he lets the hair down, it's a transformation to the Tazmanian Devil. When he lets his hair down, he's that guy. But you take the helmet off, he's got his hair pulled back and he's just a soft-spoken, well-rounded guy. He's very religious. He goes out each and every day. He's one of the locker room favorites. He's a quiet prankster. He loves to play jokes and stuff like that. He's definitely a great ball player, one of our top guys in the league."

On if Polamalu opens up more when you get to know him:

"He opens up. He's definitely a prankster. He's pulled a couple of pranks on me. In preseason he gave me a water bottle and was like, ‘Man, you've got to taste this Gatorade.' And he loosened the top and I tried to squeeze it in my mouth and the whole Gatorade fell on my face. You wouldn't think of it from a guy like that. He can get a lot of guys because he's so soft-spoken. He's definitely one of those prankster guys."

On Polamalu not talking much:

"He talks, but he's just a subtle, soft-spoken guy. He's not one to rah-rah, get the whole team going and stuff like that. He's not that, but his presence on the field when he's running around, he's making plays, guys feed off that and makes them go out there and want to give the same effort."

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