Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward wants to play next season, and would take a significant pay cut to stay in Pittsburgh, the Post-Gazette reported Wednesday.
Ward, who has spent all 14 of his NFL seasons with the Steelers, shot down rumors that he would retire following a career-worst season in which he totaled just 46 catches for 381 yards.
"I’d probably have to restructure my contract," the 35-year-old said about the possibility of returning to the team.
"That’s fine with me. I recognize that. I’m telling you I want to be here, I’m telling you I’m willing to do that. And I understand the ramifications — we have the cap number and stuff, but I want to be here."
Ward said he would be "devastated" if he cannot play for the Steelers in 2012, but said he would still attempt to play elsewhere if the team opts to release him.
The Steelers must decide by March whether to pay Ward a roster bonus or cut ties with the Super Bowl XL MVP.
The two-time Super Bowl winner, who was paid $4 million this season, became the eighth player to reach 1,000 catches in the final game of the regular season.
Ward did not make a catch in the Steelers’ 29-23 overtime loss Sunday at Denver.