In a poll that drew more than 11,000 votes, 62 percent say that Ward didn't cross the line as an aggressive and violent football player. Ward, who announced his retirement Tuesday, has drawn criticism over the years for his hits, and was named the NFL's dirtiest player in a 2009 Sports Illustrated poll.
Here are some comments from the blog and the mail bag regarding Ward's style of play:
Go to War Mrs. Agnes: Dirty Player? Depends on if you're a Steelers fan or not!
Tommy2Steel: After 14 years in the league and consistently delivering those bone-jarring hits, if he truly wanted to end someone's career, I would think the list would be long and distinguished -- but there is no list because it never happened. He was fearsome and he was not afraid to lay the wood to you, but he was not out to end anyone's career.
JustBeWarned: When so many players say you are a dirty player, the argument is over. He's a dirty player. Fans and writers have never been within 10 feet of Hines Ward. What's broadcasted on TV isn't enough for us to be able to judge for ourselves.
Steelers6XSuperbowl Champs: The question is "Is Hines a Dirty Player?" My response is I don't care. All I know is he caught 1,000 passes for a load of yards and was a big part of winning us two Super Bowls. I admit that I usually see things from a black and gold prospective. But you know what, the Steelers have been fun to cheer for since I was a kid and they have six Championships to show for it. Hines will be missed!!!!
Ohiodeclan: Ward was the dirtiest player on a team with a long history of dirty players.
pusencer: Ward was a hard-nosed blocker and played a physical style of ball. He wasn't dirty and played within the rules. The only questionable hit I ever saw him make was on Rivers a couple years back. It was a bit high, but clean. He just didn't see it coming. He should be a Hall of Famer. I'm a browns fan, glad to see him retire. I never saw him as dirty, but definitely intense and physical.
Bob from Winston Salem, N.C.: Concerning Hines Ward being dirty, I would more often call him the King of Unnecessary Roughness. Ward ended Keith Rivers' rookie season with an unnecessary play. The play is going out of bounds, Rivers is at jogging speed trailing the play, Ward lines him up and lays him out breaking his jaw in two places. You cannot break a players jaw with a legal hit. Ward's helmet went up under Rivers facemask. Ward could have just knocked him sideways and instead he took the free lay out hit. Dirty? Perhaps. Unnecessary? Absolutely. If he did that to Tom Brady, Ward would be suspended for a year!