Q&A: Hines Ward

Mike Prisuta asked Hines Ward the following questions about the Baltimore Ravens during a mob interview at lunch:

Hines Ward, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: Could you take anything from the preseason opener?

A: Preseason's preseason. You want to go out there and play well but I'm just looking forward to Baltimore. I want to continue to get better each day I step on the practice field and go down to Baltimore for an all-out war.

Q: How long have you been thinking about that?

A: Since the schedule came out. They would schedule us in Baltimore the first game. It'll be an exciting way to start the season off. It's a divisional game so it's very important for us. I know their fans are going to be hyped up for the game. I call it the Lion's Den. When you go down there, there's just a mob of fans who hate the Pittsburgh Steelers. What better way than to try to go down there and start their season the wrong way with a loss. It's going to be an exciting game.

Q: Are you preparing for it mentally?

A: It's all I think about. Preseason's good but my mind's focused on one team and that's Baltimore.

Q: Are they the main competition again?

A: They're always the competition. Every year it's going to come down to Baltimore and us in the AFC North. When you play Baltimore, you get in the weight room a little longer; you stay a little extra after practice because you know it's going to be a physical ball game.

Q: Have you checked free agency? Are they better? Worse?

A: Ah, I don't bother. No matter what type of team you go out and get you still have to come together and mesh as a team and have that team chemistry, so I don't get caught up in some of the free agents that they signed or the rookies that they drafted.

Q: But they threw away their clutch 35-year-old receiver. You don't do that, do you?

A: And they got rid of Todd Heap. Some organizations, you know, they feel they have to go young. I think we do a great job of mixing our veteran guys, myself, James Farrior, Aaron Smith, but we've got a nucleus of young guys who are just waiting to get their opportunity. You have to learn from the veteran guys to know what it takes year in and year out, and I think once they develop that – I think we have a great rapport of how we do things around here. When you lose a [Derrick] Mason or a Heap, that does a lot to the locker room because those guys are your emotional leaders out there. Now, all the pressure comes on [Joe] Flacco probably because he's the only veteran guy they probably still have there.

Q: Is everybody else thinking Baltimore or just you?

A: I don't know about everybody else. I know I'm always thinking about it, every chance I get. I watched the Baltimore game (against the Eagles) in the preseason just because of the fact they're Baltimore. I'm studying the new corner; looks like a pretty good talent. I'm worrying about Baltimore.

Q: What did you think of the Dream Team while you were watching? Or were you just watching Baltimore?

A: Just looking at Baltimore (laughs). Just looking at Baltimore.

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