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Hines Ward Hangs It Up

It was never a realistic option in the first place, but we can formally say adios to Hines Ward.

Ward announced his retirement today, which was probably the right call for a once-great receiver whose skills had declined to the point where he was a shell of the shell of his former self. He retires with 1,000 catches for more than 12,000 yards, 85 touchdowns and a reputation as a tough blocker or an extremely dirty one, depending on who you talk to.

Again, the Falcons obviously never even really kicked the tires on Ward, which was as it should be. But it's worth recognizing Ward as the kind of receiver the Falcons love, someone who's tough, talented and willing to block. I think everyone would be pretty thrilled if Julio Jones finished with those kind of numbers and knocked a few defensive backs down on the way, though it seems likely he'd average more than 12 yards a catch.

The Falcons are more likely to keep around fourth and fifth receivers who are capable of playing special teams, which is to say players like Kerry Meier and Kevin Cone. You're not going to see a Ward or a Terrell Owens or anyone of that ilk in a Falcons jersey unless injuries decimate the depth chart, and it's not particularly likely even then. This is a (relatively) young depth chart, and it will stay that way.

Any thoughts on Ward?