Morgan Burnett Jersey

It didn’t even take a full workweek for ex-Pittsburgh Steelers safety Morgan Burnett to find a new home.

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The veteran is set to sign a two-year contract with the Cleveland Browns, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reports. Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported the news. The team later confirmed the signing along with announcing the signing of quarterback Garrett Gilbert, who most recently played with the Alliance of American Football’s Orlando Apollos.

Rapoport reported the deal is for two years at a max of nearly $9 million, with a guarantee of almost $4 million.
Burnett was cut by the Steelers on Monday, one year into a three-year pact. The Steelers attempted to trade the safety after he requested his release back in January, but came up empty.

The Browns, apparently, were waiting in the wings.

After being a poor fit in Pittsburgh — who had a bigger need for a deep cover safety than a box-player — Burnett hopes to recapture his form in Cleveland.

The signing furthers the trend of Browns general manager John Dorsey bringing in players with whom he’s familiar. Dorsey was the Director of College Scouting in Green Bay when the Packers made Burnett a third-round pick in 2010.

Dorsey continues to churn the safety position in Cleveland. After trading Jabrill Peppers to New York, he cut young safety Derrick Kindred, traded for Eric Murray from Kansas City (another of his former draft picks) and now signs Burnett.

Just 30-years-old entering his 10th NFL season, there is still tread on Burnett’s tires despite fizzling out in Pittsburgh. It’s likely the Browns have a better plan to utilize the veteran’s skill set than the Steelers did a year ago.

As a box safety and potential dime linebacker, Burnett should pair well as a complement to Cleveland free safety Damarious Randall on the back end. If Burnett plays as well as he did during the end of his run in Green Bay, the Browns should have a stable back end rotation to lean on in 2019.

Gilbert led the AAF with 2,152 yards passing and was second in the league with 13 touchdowns as he quarterbacked Orlando to the league’s best record. Previously, Gilbert played for the Carolina Panthers in 2018, playing in just one game and had previously been signed by the Rams, Patriots, Lions and Raiders.

Joshua Dobbs Jersey

As a recipient of an aerospace engineering degree, Joshua Dobbs is all too familiar with Newton’s third law of motion.

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He just didn’t expect it to be such a jarring part of his flight training for a trip with the Air Force Thunderbirds.

What goes up must come down — even an F-16 jet — as the Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback learned while prepping for his April flight with the famed military pilots.

“If you have to eject, this is how you operate the parachute, and if the parachute doesn’t open before 10,000 feet, this is what you have to do,” Dobbs said Wednesday. “I’m like, I just want to go up, get a picture and come back down.”

Dobbs laughed at his joke. Thankfully, his flight had a smooth takeoff and landing, fulfilling a dream for the third-year quarterback who longs to someday work for NASA or Pratt & Whitney, a manufacturer of aircraft engines for the U.S government.

“An experience of a lifetime,” is how Dobbs described it on social media after completing the flight.
Dobbs throws passes for a living, but he couldn’t resist taking a few passes across the skyline with the Thunderbirds. Such is his love for space that Dobbs has the following Paul Brandt quote written on his Instagram page: “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit when there are footprints on the moon.”

Partial credit for the trip should go to another athlete familiar with traveling at high speeds: retired NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

Dobbs was serving a three-week internship in February 2018 at Fanatics, an online sportswear retailer. A trip to the Daytona 500 was on the docket, and Dobbs got to rub elbows with Gordon. Dobbs was invited to a private suite where among the guests were the Thunderbird pilots who had performed the pre-race flyover.

Turned out that some of the pilots were Florida football fans and remembered Dobbs from his four years as Tennessee’s quarterback and his aerospace engineering background.

“They said, ‘We’d love to have you fly with us,’ ” Dobbs said. “I said, ‘Hey, wherever you are, I’ll meet you there.’ ”
The Thunderbirds performed last summer at the Westmoreland County Air Show, the event coinciding with the opening of Steelers training camp across Route 30 from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport at Saint Vincent.

Dobbs, however, couldn’t get his schedule to mesh with the Thunderbirds, so the flight was postponed until the offseason.

In April, Dobbs received the invitation to fly with the group prior to an air show in Waco, Texas. A camera crew from Sports Illustrated was brought along to document Dobbs flight as part of its “24 Hours With” video series.

Before Dobbs could go up in the air, he had to pass a crammed certification process. He began his crash course at 7 a.m on a Saturday when he received his anti-gravity suit and mask. He was drilled on safety procedures, hence the ejection protocol, and tutored on the flight profile.

“You’ve got to get certified quickly to be able to go up,” Dobbs said. “It was a pretty extensive process.”

Because of some heavy cloud coverage, Dobbs said the flight was pushed back until the afternoon, which led to his biggest mistake. With some time to kill and only a light breakfast in his stomach, Dobbs headed to a vending machine.

His snack of choice? A bag of Cheetos.

“I was starving,” Dobbs said.
Once airborne, Dobbs said his pilot made several passes over the airfield without fanfare. Then, he did a 9-G turn, a maneuver that is nine times the force of gravity.

“He rolls the plane and does a U-turn,” Dobbs said. “Imagine the force of stopping a plane, going and the jolt of the engine. You experience 9 to 9.1 Gs. That’s the one that gets people blacking out.”

Dobbs didn’t black out. But he did throw up a little while later.

“He rolls the plane really hard four times, then he rolls it slow to the left,” Dobbs said. “That got me.”

Out came the Cheetos. Dobbs, though, was happy he projected his snack into a bag rather than all over the canopy.

“It was all orange,” Dobbs said. “Probably not the prettiest sight.”

Other than that mishap, it was smooth flying for Dobbs.

For his next adventure, Dobbs has been invited to attend a rocket launch at Cape Canaveral in Florida. The launch is scheduled for early July, a few weeks before the Steelers report to training camp.

“I hear this one is going to the space station,” Dobbs said. “It should be pretty cool.”

Cameron Sutton Jersey

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Cameron Sutton might have the most intimidating helmet on the planet.

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A tweet from The Checkdown shows Sutton during practice with the Steelers wearing a visor of the infamous horror character Jason Voorhees, and it’s awesome.

I don’t think the league will let him rock it during a game, but it’s pretty damn sweet to wear during practice. Take a look at it below. (RELATED: JuJu Smith-Schuster Responds To Antonio Brown Calling Him Out On Twitter)
It’s game over if you see a defensive back with that helmet gunning for you on the field. Jason is one of the most iconic killers in the history of film.

He uses a machete to hack people to bits! There’s a reason why the films have grossed an absurd amount of cash.

It’s because they’re highly-entertaining for those into slasher films and blood.
If you see Sutton running towards you on the field with that mask on, then you better dip for the sidelines as fast as possible.

There’s no shot I want to go up against somebody rocking a Jason mask. It’s just that simple. Count me out!
The season is months away, but Sutton is already letting it be known he’s not messing around this year with Pittsburgh. I love it. Too bad Goodell is soft and wouldn’t let him wear that visor in a million years in a game.

What a shame!

Mason Rudolph Jersey

James Washington and Mason Rudolph entered the draft in 2018 as teammates, and they left it the same way. Going from Oklahoma State to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the second- and third-round picks would continue their relationship as professionals that they began at the college level.

Neither of them had the rookie season that they would have liked, but a new year promises to have new possibilities, and more opportunities to grow through experience. Each of them now have a season under their belt, even if the wide receiver, Washington, was able to get substantially more playing time than Rudolph, who was inactive as the third-string quarterback.

Not that he didn’t use his time wisely on the bench. Rudolph has previously talked about how Mike Tomlin helped to keep him engaged by being open to his suggestions and ideas for the offense, listening to them and maybe even deploying them. He credited that a lot for his being able to stay dialed in, and felt that he would have been able to play if called upon by the end of the year.

Washington had no choice but to be engaged because he was playing immediately, and clearly doing so before he was ready. If anything, his early opportunities were a net negative experience for him as he struggled, and it reached a point where Ben Roethlisberger had a talk with him, which he considered the turning point late in the year, after which he was able to make a few plays.

Those late-season experiences have carried over into 2019, finding the pair of 2018 Day Two draft picks hopeful and optimistic. Washington could earn a starting role across from JuJu Smith-Schuster this year, while Rudolph is looking to become Roethlisberger’s backup by leapfrogging Joshua Dobbs.

“I feel like he’s a lot more confident”, Washington told Jacob Klinger about Washington. “I mean, we both are. I mean, all last year we were kind of back-and-forth calling each other, trying to pick each other’s brain and just learn playbooks together. He would call me, we’d go over signals so I feel like we kind of helped each other a little bit”.

They continued to stay in touch and pick each other’s brain throughout the offseason and into OTAs, and surely they will remain in contact during the break ahead of training camp as well. It can be incredibly valuable to have that relationship with another teammate who is in a similar point of their career.

As has long been established, Tomlin and the Steelers—and really the rest of the NFL—expect a big jump from their second-year players, and Washington and Rudolph are two players that they drafted, as high as they did, because they saw great potential in them as starters.

With the rookie jitters out of the way, and going into the season knowing what to expect, will they take that huge next step that has become expected of players in their position? We’ll have to find that out over the course of the season.

James Washington Jersey

This is the time of year where I start drafting in earnest and am starting to notice that I’m regularly ending up with specific players at certain points in the draft. I wrote about Kenyan Drake earlier this month, and another player that I’m getting in just about every draft is Pittsburgh receiver James Washington.

According to Best Ball 10s ADP, he’s going off the board as the No. 43 receiver at the 102nd pick, which lands him in the ninth round. At DRAFT, he’s the No. 49 receiver off the board at pick No. 115, on average, which places him in the 10th round. I currently have him ranked No. 31 in full PPR formats, so I think he’ll return sixth- or seventh-round value.

The former second-rounder was highly productive in college, racking up 145 catches for 2,929 yards and 23 touchdowns in his final two seasons at Oklahoma State. He won the Fred Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top receiver in 2017. The Steelers made him the seventh receiver off the board in the 2018 draft.
He was a favorite of #ReceptionPerception creator Matt Harmon as he evaluated last year’s draft class. Harmon wrote: “What makes Washington stand out among this crop of prospects is his ability to offer two skills that are rare and valuable: winning deep and in contested spaces.”

After a strong preseason last year, catching seven passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, Washington had a quiet rookie year, catching just 16 balls for 217 yards and a touchdown on 30 targets. To be fair, there wasn’t much room for Washington in the offense with Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster gobbling up 168 and 166 targets, respectively. Even though Washington was the fifth fiddle in the passing game, he still played 55% of the snaps and had two of his best games late in the season, posting three catches for 65 yards on four targets against the Patriots in Week 15, and three grabs for 64 yards on three targets in Week 17 with Brown sidelined.

Washington said that he hit a wall in his rookie season but has taken steps to avoid that in 2019. He has lost 15 pounds to improve his speed and is in much better shape heading into his sophomore campaign. What sort of role can Washington expect to fill in the Pittsburgh offense now that Brown is out of the way? Will he be a bona fide No. 2 option, getting 100-plus targets from Ben Roethlisberger, or will he be sharing that role with the newly signed Donte Moncrief and/or rookie Diontae Johnson?
The table below shows the WR2 in Pittsburgh in terms of targets per game and his resulting per game numbers.
Including Smith-Schuster’s monster 2018 campaign, the WR2 receiver in Pittsburgh has played at a 68-904-5.8 pace on 112 targets, which equates to low-end fantasy WR2 numbers. If we remove Smith-Schuster’s season since it looks like an outlier, the line drops to 63-839-5.6 on 105 targets, which are still solid fantasy WR3-type numbers.
The other thing that I’d like to point out is that the Pittsburgh WR2 has averaged 4.2 catches for 59 yards and 0.45 touchdowns, a 67-944-7.2 pace, in 2010-2013 and 2015, the five seasons in recent memory where Le’Veon Bell was not a major factor in the passing game (excluding JuJu’s outlier season). With Bell gone, his targets are up for grabs, and while I expect the running backs to get the majority of those looks, Washington will have something to say about it as well.

I currently project Washington for 63-842-5.9 and that makes him a solid fantasy WR3. He could certainly lose snaps to Moncrief or someone else and finish lower than that, but he has the talent and opportunity to finish as a fantasy WR2. That makes him a great pick in the ninth or 10th round in all fantasy formats.

Ryan Shazier Jersey

Pittsburgh Steelers injured linebacker, Ryan Shazier, receives award for overcoming adversity.

It’s impossible not to respect Ryan Shazier after everything he gone through. After being drafted by the Steelers with the 15th overall pick in 2014, Shazier quickly became a leader of the defense and went on to land two consecutive Pro Bowls by the age of 25.

However, everything took a devastating turn late in the 2017 season. During a road game against the Bengals on Monday night football, Shazier writhed in pain after tackle, while the nation helplessly looked on.
The injury to Shazier’s spinal chord would have life-altering implications. It no longer became a question of when Shazier would see the field again; rather, if he would walk again.

Shazier somehow managed to stay positive through it all. Eight months after an injury that would have caused most men to lose all hope, Shazier defied the odds:
America sobbed as a video went viral of Shazier walking across the Steelers practice field for their ‘Friday Night Lights’ practice. If this would have been the only thing Shazier pulled off, it might have been enough for fans to see that not all hope was lost.
But Shazier didn’t stop there.
Ryan Shazier continued to impress, and video after video, he showed the nation why there is always hope.

In March and April, Shazier was seen doing pull-ups and box jumps – no doubt preparing for the biggest moment of his life.
On May 4th of this year, Shazier touched the hearts of the nation. The Steelers linebacker (who was never supposed to be able to walk again) danced with his wife at his wedding.
All of his sweat and tears led Shazier to that moment, and his efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

Yesterday, the Steelers role model was selected as the 2019 George Halas Award winner by Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).
Ed Bouchette – a PFWA member and writer for The Athletic – had this to say on the character of Ryan Shazier:

“In my 35 years covering the Steelers, I’ve seen many players overcome much adversity, but never have I seen such determination by a player to overcome what Ryan has and to reach a point, physically and mentally, where he is. It’s unbelievable how teammates talk about how he has inspired them. Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have spoken many times about what he has meant to the organization, the front office and the players. He has been one big inspiration.

“He’s going to all the meetings, watching film, breaking down opponents, going in with the scouts to watch stuff, looking at prospects at draft time, and he’s on the field every day. He’s made remarkable recovery from an injury where many of us believed he wouldn’t be able to.

“He’s an inspiration to fans as well. His first public appearance was at a Steelers home game. They showed him on the Jumbotron, and the ovation was incredible. Same thing at a Penguins game. At the NFL Draft, he walked without help publicly for the first time. He’s been a tremendous inspiration all the way around.”

Since his injury, Shazier has been a player Steelers fans could count on to make headlines for all of the right reasons. His hard work, determination, and unmatched effort on the road to recovery simply make him one-of-a-kind.
Shazier embodies what it means to be a Pittsburgh Steeler, and his relentlessness has been an inspiration to football fans nationwide.

Greg Lloyd Jersey

Greg Lloyd, Bill Cowher and the rest of the Pittsburgh Steelers made a statement midway through the 1992 regular season.

Cowher, in his first season as Pittsburgh’s head coach, coached against his former mentor, then Chiefs’ head coach Marty Schottenheimer, in Week 8 of the regular season. Led by a dominate defensive effort spearhead by Pro Bowl linebacker Greg Lloyd, Cowher’s Steelers overwhelmed Schottenheimer’s Chiefs 27-3 on Sunday Night Football.
The ’92 Steelers was a special one for Pittsburgh and Cowher, who won his only NFL Coach of the Year award that season. After the Steelers stumbled to a 7-9 record the previous season, the ’92 Steelers went 11-5 while winning the team’s first division title since 1984. It was the first of six consecutive postseason appearances for Cowher’s Steelers, who would also win five AFC Central division titles during that span.

One of the team’s best players during that era was Lloyd, a sixth round pick in the 1988 NFL Draft. After seeing limited time as a rookie, Lloyd became a full-time starter in 1989, recording 7.0 sacks and three forced fumbles that season while helping the Steelers win their first playoff game in five years. After another solid season in 1990, Lloyd further elevated his game in 1991, earning his first of five consecutive Pro Bowl selections that season while becoming the most intimating player in football.

While he was especially good at getting to opposing quarterbacks, Lloyd’s versatility is what truly made him special. In 1992, Lloyd complemented his 96 tackles with 6.5 sacks, five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and an interception. In 1993, his earned his first of three consecutive All-Pro selections after racking up 111 tackles go to with 6.0 sacks, five forced fumbles and a fumble recovery in 15 regular season games.

Lloyd was even better in 1994. Along with leading the newly formed Blitzburgh Defense, Lloyd recorded a career high 10.0 sacks that season while leading the NFL with five forced fumbles. The following season, Lloyd finished second for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award after totaling 116 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three interceptions and an NFL high six forced fumbles. Lloyd’s play that season helped the Steelers capture their first AFC title since 1979.

With his career seeming destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lloyd suffered a career-altering injury in Week 1 of the 1996 season. While he would return to play two more NFL seasons, Lloyd was not the same player that he was prior to his major injury. He retired with little fanfare during the 1999 offseason following one season in Carolina.

While the end of his career was unfortunate, the nine healthy seasons that Lloyd had pre-injury were some of the best individual seasons in franchise history. When the topic of all-time Steelers linebackers is discussed, Lloyd’s name is always in the conversation.

Kevin Greene Jersey

The Pittsburgh Steelers could use change, and former player Kevin Greene may have what this team needs moving forward.

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Not all good players evolve into great coaches. There are many other factors that go into coaching other than understanding the nuances of the game. Luckily for former Pittsburgh Steelers OLB Kevin Greene, he has that box checked.

A coach known for his outlandish attitude, Greene is known to bring a certain “swagger” to the team he coaches. A Hall of Fame player with an abundance of knowledge from a pass-rushing perspective, Greene is one of the best when it comes to teaching the art of fundamentals. Who better to learn the pass-rush than the NFL’s third all-time sacks leader, right? But as I stated earlier, not all great players translate to great coaches.
The Steelers had former player Joey Porter coaching the outside linebackers before relieving him of his duties earlier this year. That leaves the door open for Greene to possibly be the team’s next outside linebackers coach.

It took Greene, six coaching internships before landing a full-time gig with the Green Bay Packers, thanks to former Steelers Dom Capers. A position Greene would hold from 2009-2013, before taking a three year break to spend more time with his family.

But why hire Greene? What makes Greene so special?
It’s his simplistic approach to the game, allowing his players to get after it, rather than read-and-react, which in turn, gets the most out of his players. Simply put, establishing the violent, physical, nature of the game.

Those are the words I often heard him preaching to his players during pre-game warmups while covering the San Francisco 49ers 2012 Divisional playoff game. I briefly spoke with Greene before the game, and you could just sense the high-energy, passion, and fire he brought to the organization, as former Niners GM Trent Baalke looked on.
While in Green Bay, Greene had the luxury of coaching up OLB Clay Matthews, who in just two year’s time would be named the 2010 PFWA Defensive Player of the Year. In those two seasons, Matthews racked up 111 tackles, 23.5 sacks, 11 pass breakups, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, and one 62-yard pick six. Talk about production at the highest level.

But while Matthews garnered all the hype, it was the development of Aaron Kampman who caught my eye.

Kampman, who was making the switch from a 4-3 defensive end to a standing two-point stance 3-4 outside linebacker, understood the job was a total 180, and sought out Coach Greene for guidance.
“This was the [3-4] job description. You have to cover like a big, strong safety, you have to rush like a big, strong, defensive end, and you have to play the run like a big, strong, inside linebacker,” Kampman said.

In Kampman’s lone season under Greene’s tutelage, he would record 42 tackles and 3.5 sacks in just nine games.

Aside from Greene’s simplistic approach to the game, what exactly makes him a true player’s coach? After all, a coach needs to be relatable to his players, for them to buy into their system.

It’s his charismatic approach in adapting to player’s needs. His innate ability to motivate players is a thing of beauty. His coaching style varies from player to player using either positive reinforcement or an old-fashioned scolding, often referring to them as “his kids” because he cares about them and their well-being, aside from the x’s and o’s. Aside from being the ultimate teacher of the game, Greene also relates to the players by advising what he would do, if he was on the field.

However, it’s his passion for the game that makes him the ultimate player’s coach. As a player you can’t coach heart, and as a coach you can’t fake passion. Greene is often seen on the sidelines working the officials and debating calls. He will use any type of body language necessary to get the officials attention. Whether it’s jumping violently up and down or screaming at the top of his lungs, Greene will do whatever it takes to ensure his kids are getting fair treatment. How many assistant coaches do you see in the NFL taking this extra step? Not very many. And although some coaching styles vary from team to team, like the great Bill Belichick, Greene’s passion is unquestioned, as he just wants his kids to “have fun.” A characteristic in which players can feed off of, is what makes Greene the ultimate competitor and leader, both on and off the football field.
In an era where the NFL coaching job description entails a game of musical chairs, the Steelers may have found their blessing in disguise. A Hall of fame player who has a reputable track record of developing young talent, Greene fits the team’s cultural identity to a tee, as his combination of passion, competitiveness, and heart is unrivaled, making him the perfect fit.

Lynn Swann Jersey

In the 1970’s, Lynn Swann was a USC wide receiver who Trojan fans cheered on. Nowadays, Swann isn’t the most popular man in town as the school’s athletic director.

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After an abysmal 5-7 season at USC in 2018, fans were calling for head coach Clay Helton to lose his job. Instead, Swann kept Helton in place. Even in some of the better recent seasons, the Trojans have been a notch or two below where their history indicates they should be. According to one FOX Sports analyst, people are taking notice and putting a good portion of that blame on Swann.

Bruce Feldman joined the latest episode of The Peristyle Podcast, and he gave the national perspective on the USC program. Feldman questioned the hire of Swann in the first place, and things haven’t gotten much better since then.
“The biggest thing I’ve always heard is that it’s USC,” Feldman said. “You almost have to screw it up for it not to be a great team. I think there’s a lot of people who look at it and go, ‘Man, the leadership there is such a head-scratcher.’ When I say leadership, I’m not necessarily in this situation saying Clay Helton. I’m talking above him. I remember I was doing the podcast I work on when I was told Lynn Swann was getting the job. I almost drove off the interstate. In some ways, it seems like a USC kind of thing. You take someone who was obviously a great player and could be successful, but it’s like they have no experience as an administrator. I think people look at that and go, ‘It’s very dysfunctional.’”

Immediately after that assessment, Feldman was asked to give a timeline on how much longer Swann had left as the school’s athletic director. According to Feldman, Swann may not even make it to October.

“I would take the under on Oct. 1,” Swann said. “I don’t know anything for a fact, but if you asked me I don’t think he’d be the AD … If they have a rough six-game stretch right out of the gate, my guess is he would not be the AD by then. The new president is going to get settled in and figure it out.”

A poor start to USC’s 2019 season may the straw that breaks the camel’s back, but Feldman also wouldn’t be stunned if Swann is out before that. USC’s new president, Carol Folt, begins on July 1. Would she come in and make a quick change?
“Look, it could happen before the season,” Feldman said. “That wouldn’t shock me at all, but I was just thinking if that’s the start date, my understanding is she’s going to take some time to sort things out. That process could be going on right now. I don’t think anyone is writing off Clay Helton, but if you’re going to make that decision at some point, I don’t think they want to be in a position where Lynn Swann is going to be hiring the next USC head coach.”

If Feldman is correct and Swann does make it to the start of the football season, how the Trojans perform on the field could decide his fate.

Hines Ward Jersey

Hines Ward, former Georgia Bulldog and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, visited kids at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia ahead of his appearance at the Best of the CSRA Preps Awards banquet Thursday night.

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Hines Ward, former Georgia Bulldog and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, visited kids at the Children’s Hospital of Georgia ahead of his appearance at the Best of the CSRA Preps Awards banquet Thursday night.

When Hines Ward was a child, he would have loved to see a Super Bowl ring. Now that he has two, he uses them to inspire those who need inspiration the most.

Ahead of his appearance at the inaugural Best of the CSRA Preps Awards banquet Thursday night, the former Georgia Bulldogs and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver stopped by the Children’s Hospital of Georgia to visit kids going through major illnesses.

At each room, he took off his rings and showed the children, letting them and their parents pose and take pictures. Between patient rooms, he was stopped by doctors and nurses who followed his football career at the University of Georgia.

“Any little thing you can do to help these kids get through what they’re going through, that’s what it’s about to me,” Ward said. “It’s just about being selfless and making others feel better when they’re going through some trying times, so I’m just happy and honored and humbled to be here.”

Pediatrics chief Valera Hudson said the visit was uplifting for the patients and their families.

“A hospital can be such a scary and intimidating place usually not associated with joy or surprises, so we’re so appreciative when someone like Hines Ward takes time out of their day to come,” she said. “It cheers up not only the kids but the parents, too.”

Ward grew up in south Atlanta, and now lives in Milton, Ga. He said as a Georgia boy, it means a lot to him to be able to give back.

“My thoughts and prayers are always with the family, it’s an unfortunate situation but being able to come down and let the families get their minds off the situation, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Looking ahead to the banquet, Ward said he hoped sharing his experiences would inspire athletes as they enter college.

“I love talking to kids because I was once in their shoes, not knowing what next year is going to bring,” he said. “If you continue to set goals and follow your dreams and just continue to work hard then you’ll find a way to navigate through life and be successful.”

A key to that success is applying yourself and aiming for your goals, even if you fall short, Ward said. And while he hoped to inspire the students at the banquet, they inspired him as well.

“I feel like we need to recognize that of all the kids here in Augusta, this small handful of kids have excelled at a high level as outstanding student athletes,” he said. “We need to encourage that and send them on the right path.”

When Hines Ward was a child, he would have loved to see a Super Bowl ring. Now that he has two, he uses them to inspire those who need inspiration the most.

Ahead of his appearance at the inaugural Best of the CSRA Preps Awards banquet Thursday night, the former Georgia Bulldogs and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver stopped by the Children’s Hospital of Georgia to visit kids going through major illnesses.

At each room, he took off his rings and showed the children, letting them and their parents pose and take pictures. Between patient rooms, he was stopped by doctors and nurses who followed his football career at the University of Georgia.

“Any little thing you can do to help these kids get through what they’re going through, that’s what it’s about to me,” Ward said. “It’s just about being selfless and making others feel better when they’re going through some trying times, so I’m just happy and honored and humbled to be here.”

Pediatrics chief Valera Hudson said the visit was uplifting for the patients and their families.

“A hospital can be such a scary and intimidating place usually not associated with joy or surprises, so we’re so appreciative when someone like Hines Ward takes time out of their day to come,” she said. “It cheers up not only the kids but the parents, too.”

Ward grew up in south Atlanta, and now lives in Milton, Ga. He said as a Georgia boy, it means a lot to him to be able to give back.

“My thoughts and prayers are always with the family, it’s an unfortunate situation but being able to come down and let the families get their minds off the situation, that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Looking ahead to the banquet, Ward said he hoped sharing his experiences would inspire athletes as they enter college.

“I love talking to kids because I was once in their shoes, not knowing what next year is going to bring,” he said. “If you continue to set goals and follow your dreams and just continue to work hard then you’ll find a way to navigate through life and be successful.”

A key to that success is applying yourself and aiming for your goals, even if you fall short, Ward said. And while he hoped to inspire the students at the banquet, they inspired him as well.

“I feel like we need to recognize that of all the kids here in Augusta, this small handful of kids have excelled at a high level as outstanding student athletes,” he said. “We need to encourage that and send them on the right path.”