Korean-American Football Player Retires from NFL
SEOUL, March 22 -- American Football player Hines Ward has always been a pleasant man who looks bright and cheerful.
On Tuesday, however, he was in tears as he announced his retirement from NFL.
Hines Ward, a 36-year-old Korean-American football player, hung up his boots after playing for Pittsburgh Steelers for 14 years.
“I want to remain as a player of Steelers forever rather than wear the other team’s uniform,” Ward said at the press interview on 21. He played for Steelers for 14 years.
If he keeps playing American football, he would get a chance for putting his name on Pro Football Hall of Fame. However, he expressed his will that he wants to keep his bondage with Steelers, adding that he does not have any discontent to Steelers which decided to release Ward from the team.
After the press interview, Ward gave a big hug to Art Rooney II, the owner of Pittsburgh Steelers, saying “I am appreciated to my team that gave me a great chance to become a football player.”
Hines Ward, who was born between the U.S. army and Korean women, moved to the U.S. from South Korean when He was 1 year old. His mother was sued for divorce on the ground of poverty and had to let Ward go to the U.S. Ward spent time with his grandmother for a while, but came back to his mother when he was 7 years old.
After graduating from University of Georgia, in 1998, Pittsburgh Steelers picked Ward as their new player. However, no one expected him to become a successful player. He was a so-called “All round player,” and his talent was an obstacle for him rather than a strong point to be a great player. As an American football player, it is better to have a specialty in a certain position such as a quarterback, a running back or a wide receiver.
However, Ward was a diligent and persistent player enough to overcome his weakness. Even though He was a little bit short compared to other NFL players, he showed quite remarkable speed and move every time he was on the ground, and his outstanding playing led him have many NFL new records for touch down and reception. He was a 8th player who had received over 1000 passes from quarterback in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ history.
Ward once was considered as the “best flanker”, but experienced a serious slump because of many injuries last year, and had to ask Pittsburgh Steelers to reduce his salary. However, the team did not take his suggestion and decided to release him.
“This is such a destiny that leaving the ground as a former Steelers’ player. My team won the Super Bowl two times while I was playing for the team, and I was even named the most valuable player in 2006 Super Bowl. I am a blessed NFL player, and I do know that.” he said.
After won the 2006 Super Bowl, Ward visited his mother’s country, South Korea, and established a charity, Hines Ward Helping Hands, which helps multicultural families in Korea. The discrimination against multicultural families in Korea is getting severer these days so that it is now one of the social problems that Korean people should deal with. Ward was named an honorary ambassador for Korean-American relationship to enhance two countries’ friendship. He currently acts as a consultant to the U.S. President Obama.