"I want to go down as one of the greatest to wear the black and gold," Hines Ward told the press and his fans Tuesday.
Ward confirmed he will retire as a Pittsburgh Steeler during a very tearful speech.
"My love and passion for this game has given me a good 14 years with the greatest organization in the world here in Pittsburgh," he said. "I've accomplished all that I've set out to and more, but it's my love for the game that makes me want to continue playing. I am a competitor and I would love nothing more than to get to another Super Bowl.
"These past few weeks, I've spent a lot of time reading emails, Facebook posts, tweets, letters and cards and as I read them I was really moved by the tremendous outpouring of love, encouragement and support. It really got to me.
"When I think about football, I think about Steeler Nation and the fans.
"For all the fans who traveled nationwide across the country, the ones wearing my jerseys in Denver, New York and even Baltimore, those who voted for me to win the Mirror Ball Trophy on 'Dancing with the Stars' and those who gave me a shoutout on the red carpet at the Oscars—it is truly amazing.
"Without the support over the past 14 years, this game wouldn't mean the same to me. It wouldn't have been as fun for me. You guys meant the world to me. This city and this organization means the world to me.
"Today, I came back to Pittsburgh to grant Steeler Nation this one last request. So today, I'm officially retiring as a Pittsburgh Steeler. And, as much as I will miss football, my teammates, coaches and everything about the game, I don't want to play it in any other uniform.
"The black and gold runs deep in me and I'll remain a Steeler for life."
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