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Old faces return for Steelers ceremony

November 19, 2012
By Buck Frank ( , The Altoona Mirror

PITTSBURGH - The Steelers celebrated 80 seasons of football Sunday night by inviting alumni to Heinz Field, but two former stars didn't need an invitation.

Hall of Fame cornerback Rod Woodson worked as the sideline reporter for the national radio broadcast, and recently retired wide receiver Hines Ward returned to Pittsburgh as part of the NBC telecast.

More than 15 ex-Steelers, including Hall of Famers Woodson, Joe Greene, John Stallworth, Lynn Swann and Dermontti Dawson, gathered for a photo with team chairman emeritus Dan Rooney before Sunday's 13-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens, but Ward was not able to be present for the photo.

He later joined the former players on the field at halftime.

Ward finished his 14-year Steelers career last season, holding Steelers receiving records for receptions (1,000), yards (12,083) and touchdowns (85). He will become eligible for the Hall of Fame in five years.

"I think he's deserving of [the Hall of Fame], but I don't vote,'' Swann, a former receiver, said. "Time will tell. I think his blocking is a separator, and he won two Super Bowls and was the MVP of one. So, he was a big-game performer, and he performed the little and big things in every game. That's what's going to make him stand out to voters.''

Swann also gave his Hall of Fame support to ex-players Andre Reed of the Buffalo Bills, Jerry Kramer of the Green Bay Packers and L.C. Greenwood of the Steelers.

Greenwood was also in attendance Sunday along with another Steelers Hall of Fame hopeful, Jerome Bettis. Other ex-Steelers visiting were James Farrior, Chris Hoke, Josh Miller, Dwayne Woodruff, Louis Lipps, Willie Parker, Andy Russell and Bill Priatko, along with current Steelers radio broadcasters Tunch Ilkin and Craig Wolfley.

"I miss being in the locker room with the guys,'' said Farrior, who retired in the offseason. "But I don't miss going out and playing. My body is healing now. I'm embracing being part of the Steelers alumni.''

On the bench

Steelers inactive players included injured quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (shoulder), safety Troy Polamalu (calf), right tackle Marcus Gilbert (ankle), receiver Antonio Brown (ankle) and linebacker Stevenson Sylvester (hamstring).

Cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke and linebacker Adrian Robinson also didn't dress for the game. Linebacker Marshall Mc-Fadden, recently promoted to the roster, was activated.

The Steelers lost running back Isaac Redman to a concussion and defensive end Ziggy Hood to a back injury in the first half. Later in the game, running back Baron Batch went out with a left foot injury, and receiver Jerricho Cotchery was woozy after a hit from Baltimore's Bernard Pollard.

Injured Ravens starters who didn't play were cornerback Jimmy Smith (abdomen), guard Bobbie Williams (ankle) and defensive end Pernell McPhee (thigh).


n The Steelers will play their second of three straight AFC North divisional games at 1 p.m. next Sunday in Cleveland against the 2-8 Browns. ... Attendance was 63,446.

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