Let the trash talking begin for the Steelers, who on Thursday night will host the Cincinnati Bengals, a team they have beaten badly once already this season, 38-10. The talking has to do with Hines Ward, and a hit that took place during that game on Ocotober 19th when he crushed rookie LB Keith Rivers, a hit that broke Rivers jaw and ended his season early.
As for Ward, there has been whispers about players from the Bengals coming after him, and as far as he’s concerned – bring it on. “I’m not going to change because of the threat somebody is going to get me back,” Ward said. “Every game, there’s somebody trying to get me. I’ll apologize for the guy being out the whole year, Rivers, but there’s nothing I can do about it. I’m not going to apologize for the way I play this game. Nobody’s going to apologize to me if I get knocked out going over the middle.”
The play in which Ward gave the hit came when he was blocking after a catch by TE Matt Spaeth. Rivers was coming across to make the tackle, but never saw Ward, and got hit so hard he left his feet and eventually had to leave the field. “I continue seeing those blocks, they’ve been going on the entire age of football,” Ward said. “There’s nothing cheap about it. … If I really was trying to hurt Rivers, I would have gone low on him and tried to take out his knee.”
Ward has already been fined a couple of times this season, but that won’t stop him from making big hits, and come Thursday night, he’ll be right back on the field looking to beat up another victim – not become one.