Monday, November 15, 2010

I...gulp...respect the Steelers

There's no many teams out there that trash talk and play on the edge of the rules than the Steelers. Pittsburgh and the Baltimore Ravens are kind of 1-2 on that front. It's easy to dislike teams that talk more than they need to and often don't admit when they've simply been beaten. You'll recall the Steelers losing the AFC Championship on their home field and then having their quarterback claim that "sometimes the best team doesn't win." He only barely shut up when his team got its ass more thoroughly kicked in the next season's opening game.

But last night I found myself respecting the Steelers. Not all of them, but at least some of the folks making decisions. Why? Because they kept Hines Ward out of the game.

Ward took a shot in the area of his head and neck while trying to make a catch in the first half. He lay on the field while the telecast went to commercial. But when they returned, they showed Ward stumbling off the field with help.

On the sidelines Ward was looked at and tested by 3 or 4 doctor's or trainers who then had a conversation amongst themselves. Despite the Steelers playing a little cute and someone maybe trying to buy time by classifying it as a "neck" injury and calling his return "questionable," Ward never did return to the field.

It clearly wasn't Ward's call.

“I know who I am and how I am and how I respond to hits,’’ Ward said. “I’ve been doing it for 13 years. I’ve been hit a lot worse. I’ve had concussions.

“I mean, how many concussions does it take to cause all the problems they say they cause? Is it one or three or five? Until you give me some real stats . . . I felt like I was fine to get back in there. The doctor saw me stumbling and thought otherwise.”

Though he holds a degree from the University of Georgia in Consumer Economics, Hines Ward is clearly no doctor. I'm glad there are some more qualified folks making decisions in Pittsburgh and around the NFL.