Hines Ward knows how weird things may be on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium when he squares off against the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent the entirety of his 14-year NFL career.
The New York Jets offensive assistant, however, isn’t holding back. He wants to win — and wants his players to break out a championship-level celebration when they do, too.
“It will be special for me, but I’m a competitive guy. I want to win,” Ward said, via NorthJersey.com. “I want to beat the Steelers as much as anybody in this building. Trust me.
“I’m telling my guys that they’ve got to win this for me. I want the Gatorade shower and all that if we win.”
Ward was selected by the Steelers in the third round of the 1998 draft, and stayed there until he retired after the 2011 season. The four-time Pro Bowler helped lead the Steelers to two Super Bowl wins, too, and was even the Super Bowl MVP in 2005 after recording 123 yards and one touchdown in their win over the Seattle Seahawks.
Now in his first season as an offensive assistant with the Jets, Sunday will mark the first time that Ward has ever had to cheer against the Steelers.
“It will be a little strange for me,” Ward said, via NorthJersey.com. “It’s probably the first time ever you’ll see me rooting against the team that I played my whole career for. But I’m super excited about the opportunity, dressed up in green and knowing how Steeler nation is going to be out there.”
Though he’s in unfamiliar territory, Ward said his phone is “blowing up” with people wishing him good luck and looking for tickets to the game.
Regardless of how things go on the field on Sunday, Ward is set up for a memorable weekend in New York.
“It’s kind of weird,” Ward said, via ESPN. “I played my entire career there. Having people on the staff department, they want to go out to dinner [Saturday], things like that. It’s Christmas weekend in New York City, so everybody wants to come in.”
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