Don't Waste My Time

By the time the season rolled around, it was obvious Ward was the team's best receiver. He proved it on the field, leading the team with 48 receptions, eight more than Burress and Edwards had combined. Given that and his Pro Bowl, record-setting season in 2001, Ward thought he was past the days of getting jerked around.

Little did he know.

When Bobby Shaw bolted for Jacksonville in the spring, the Steelers went to Edwards about playing the slot receiver position. Edwards said he wasn't comfortable doing it and wasn't going to do it. That option out the door, the Steelers drafted Antwaan Randle El and signed veteran Terance Mathis, both of whom they plan to play as slot receivers.

So when the Steelers lined up against the New York Jets last Thursday for their first preseason game, who was guy who moved to the slot? Ward was, so that Edwards could play on the outside, where he was comfortable.

Given what Ward has gone through in the past, you can understand if he's a little touchy about being moved aside to appease Edwards, who has been little more than trouble in his days with the Steelers. Ward is a Pro Bowl receiver coming off a team-record 94 reception season. Edwards could very well be cut in the next two weeks.

It's perfectly natural that Ward was troubled about being asked to move instead of Edwards. So Ward went to head coach Bill Cowher to see what was going on and why it's happening. Ward knows that when the regular season begins, Mathis and Randle El will be the slot receivers. He knows that he would only have to play the slot in an emergency.

He doesn't want to waste his time working at a position that he likely won't play more than a handful of times this season. Ward wanted to make sure Cowher isn't taking him for granted again. And given what has happened in the past, he was certainly within his right to do so. Some may perceive it as whining. But it isn't anything that doesn't go on in any workplace on any given day.

Steel City Insider Top Stories