Originally written on The Victory Formation  |  Last updated 11/18/14

CLEVELAND - DECEMBER 10: Hines Ward #86 and James Farrior #51 of the Pittsburgh Steelers stand on the sideline during the game against the Cleveland Browns on December 10, 2009 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland won the game 13-6. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Yesterday afternoon, Hines Ward ended any and all speculation of where he would play in 2012 season by opting to retire after 14 seasons of play with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ward, who fought through tears as he addressed the media and fans, is one that is considered to be highly respected across the league for his willingness to do things that most other star receivers shied away from. His physical play, which included bone-crushing blocks at time has earned him a place in Steeler and NFL lore. But that doesn’t mean that some players were keen on his play.

“He was a dirty player, but he made a lot of plays.”

That is how Chris Crocker, safety of the Cincinnati Bengals feels about Ward. Crocker does think that Ward is a worthy of the Hall of Fame, even though he went above and beyond the rule book at times.

Crocker joined the Bengals less than two weeks after Ward’s most famous hit, a 2008 blindside block that broke Bengals linebacker Keith Rivers’s jaw and ended his rookie season. In 2009, Crocker said Ward punched him in the face at the snap of the ball.

“Stuff like that, it’s just not right,” Crocker said. “And I’m not the only guy that thinks it.”

Spoken like a true rival, indeed. These were the type of things hurled at Ward throughout his career, but that’s is not to say that Ward himself didn’t deal with his share of brutality. Ward often took dirty shots as he came over the middle, something he was more willing to do than other receivers on the Steelers. He rarely complained, and just played with his smile and made sure to get his payback when necessary

h/t : Bengals.com

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