I'm really disappointed to hear the news of Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward being released last week.
Ward was clearly one of Pittsburgh's must popular players. He was a respected wide receiver throughout the NFL.
With Ward in the lineup, the blocking was tenacious. All of the opposing team's cornerbacks and safeties knew what to expect when they lined up across from No. 86.
I liked his trademark of handing the football to an anticipating fan who wore his jersey in the seats behind the end zone after he scored a touchdown.
Let's face it: The NFL is a business, not a game anymore.
Ward has the Steelers' all-time record for receiving touchdowns, catches, receiving yards and 100 yard receiving games and was the most valuable player in Super Bowl XL. Salary-cap issues stopped Ward more than any defense ever could.
The Steelers could recognize his achievements and the success he contributed to the organization and his teammates in some special way.
Hines made lot of money. Maybe his last salary demand was too great for the Rooneys.
Either way, No. 86 was a treat to watch, and he always came to play.
Because of Joe Paterno
I grew up watching Penn State football. Saturday afternoons were always the best. I thought Penn State was the most humble team - no names for fame, they just came to play.
In 1999, I transferred to Penn State because I loved visiting my brother Rob the previous year at PSU. I visited him every home game, and we would cheer the Nittany Lions on to victory.
In the spring of 2003, I graduated from Penn State with a degrees in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and decided then that I could make no other place my home but Happy Valley.
As I began to work on a graduate degree from Penn State, I took a teaching position at one of Penn State's early childhood lab schools, which was located across from the Lasch Football building.
Joe Paterno would often walk past and stop and talk to my 3- and 4-year-old students, asking them in his identifiable voice, "Hey kids, are you learning and listening to your teacher?"
Always with a gracious smile.
I later met my husband Carl at Penn State, and we have two wonderful sons - the youngest named Kipton Joseph, in honor of Joe Paterno.
This past year, on Oct. 29, Carl and I attended what no one could have imagined to be Joe Paterno's last game.
It was a Paterno-era classic - a defensive struggle won with a late Penn State touchdown drive and a last-minute defensive stand, culminating with an Illinois field goal attempt bouncing off the upright.
What an amazing feeling it was for a legendary coach, winning his 409th game and becoming the all-time winningest coach in Division I.
Although the next weeks led to turmoil and heartbreak for Paterno and the university, we choose to honor the memories above when we think about the coach, who won his last game on the field and in life.
Because of Joe Paterno, I have two degrees, a husband, two beautiful boys and many memories of the best football program imaginable.
Thank you JoePa, and may you rest in peace.