If you haven’t done so already, take a look at the picture above.
Look at that man. That smile. A Pittsburgh Steelers icon.
Very few knew how to get under the opposition’s skin like Hines Ward. To him, it was a gift he thoroughly enjoyed every time he donned No. 86 for the black-and-gold. Who would have thought, 6 years after his retirement, Ward is still on the minds of Baltimore Ravens players who played against him.
Unfortunately, the list of players who did play against Ward is dwindling, but the man who interacted with him the most was none other than Terrell Suggs. And Suggs remembers Ward all too well.
Suggs told Bleacher Report how talking trash with Ward before, during and after games wasn’t just about getting in an opponent’s head. It was about hatred.
“We might get into a fight while we’re doing something. You know what I’m saying. It was personal. It was personal. We wanted to kill Hines Ward. I had to threaten him before every play like, ‘If you crack me, I swear to God I’m going to break your f–king neck,’” Suggs said.
Ward likely didn’t have to say much to players like Suggs. A simple smile and his long resume of de-cleating hits on linebackers did all the talking for him. After Ward broke Bengals’ linebacker Keith Rivers’ jaw, Suggs knew he could be next.
“I swear to God, if you hit me like that,” Suggs says he told Ward, “I’m getting thrown out of the f–king league.”
Some may read this and just see hatred between two bitter rivals, but I read these comments and reminisce about one of the greatest rivalries in NFL history. The Ravens and Steelers rivalry has lost its luster a bit over the past few years, never to equate to the same rivalry of the 2000s, but players like Suggs, Ben Roethlisberger and even Antonio Brown embody what this rivalry is, and especially what it once was.
If you are a younger fan and don’t remember some of those great matchups, know what Suggs is saying isn’t lip service, but nothing but the truth.
Man, I miss those days and those legendary games.