Veteran Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward lived through one AFC Championship Game celebration at Heinz Field by an opposing team. He doesn’t want to live through another one.
“I don’t want to lose another AFC Championship Game at home. That’s the worst feeling ever,” Ward said. "I remember just like yesterday when the Patriots were celebrating on our field (2005) and that was the worst feeling ever. So hopefully we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen with the Jets.”
Ward appeared this week on ESPN Radio New York with Bonnie Bernstein and Greg Buttle. Sports Radio Interviews has the full transcript.
The Jets defeated Pittsburgh, 22-17, in Pittsburgh during the regular season.
“When we played the Jets the first time, we didn’t’ have (safety) Troy [Polamalu], we didn’t have (tight end) Heath Miller. And those are two Pro Bowl players and having them back with us definitely makes us a better team,” Ward said.
Ward thinks Miller can be a difference-maker for the Steelers this time.
“He impacts our offense tremendously, especially if they play a lot of man-to-man coverage. It’s all about match ups," Ward said. “[Darrelle] Revis and [Antonio] Cromartie will probably be on myself and Mike Wallace, so having Emmanuel Sanders and Heath Miller on the other side will probably create some opportunities for those guys to make some plays.”
Ward figures he is likely to be covered by Revis, and knows he won’t see the ball very often.
“I’m always going to have my battles with Revis. I’m a big fan of his and he definitely makes it hard because even when I do get open, the quarterback’s not even looking on that side because he doesn’t even want to mess around with Revis. So I can’t get frustrated. I can see how Reggie Wayne and some of those guys got frustrated with their attempts, but that’s just the way it is,” he said. “I’ll have to find another way to make an impact on the game, and if that’s by springing a block to help Mendenhall get in with a touchdown, or running the best decoy I can to help somebody else get open, then so be it.”