It did not take long for Hines Ward to find his way back to the NFL. NBC Sports announced Thursday afternoon it has hired Ward to work on its highly rated "Football Night in America" each Sunday during the season among other projects.
Ward retired from football shortly after the Steelers released him this year and said at the time he was not sure what he would do but that pursuing a job in the media likely would be one of his tasks. He was among the most popular Steelers in his 14-year career and left as their most productive wide receiver.
His hiring for the NBC football show comes six years after his friend and former teammate, Jerome Bettis, joined "Football Night in America" after he retired. NBC did not renew Bettis' contract after three years.
Ward won't stick with one show. According to an NBC release, the multiyear agreement calls for him to contribute to other shows and be a studio analyst for college football. He will appear regularly on NBC SportsTalk on the NBC Sports Network. Ward appeared on NBC's Super Bowl pregame show this year.
"We think Hines is a perfect match for television because he brings with him a unique combination of charisma and football experience, which he demonstrated on our Super Bowl pregame show from Indianapolis," said Sam Flood, executive producer, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network, in the news release.
"He's an opinionated personality who can draw upon his 14 years of experience, having excelled at the highest levels of the game. Just don't expect him to dance."
"I am really excited. It's not every day that you get the chance to work for a powerhouse like the NBC Sports Group," said Ward in the release.
"It is a big honor for me and I am looking forward to making the most of this great opportunity."
First Published June 1, 2012 12:00 AM