Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward recently spoke of his "respect" for Ed Reed and even introduced the Ravens free safety for the NFL's 100 greatest players.
But there was Ward driving Reed to the turf on the Steelers' first offensive play of the game, a move that earned him an unnecessary roughness call.
After Pittsburgh's 31-24 win against the Ravens in Saturday's AFC Divisional playoff game at Heinz Field, Ward said he was just trying to play physical football.
"I got a roughness call, and I had four guys beating me up. I love it," he said. "That's what it is all about. Ed Reed and I have our battles. No disrespect to Ed. He probably thinks it's a little personal. But it's playoffs. Loser goes home. So why sit there and save it? I am going to go out there and fight, scratch, and claw to win a ballgame."Ward isn't exactly an angel when it comes to hits bordering on the edge of legality. He crushed Reed and former Ravens linebacker Bart Scott during a regular-season game on Nov. 5, 2007, and Scott threatened to "kill" Ward for those hits.
Reed was unavailable for comment after the game, but Ward reiterated that he's not concerned that Reed might have been angered by Ward's physical play.
"If Ed takes it personal, so be it," Reed said. "It's the playoffs. Like I said, the loser goes home. So I am going out there and fighting my tail off to help my guys get open or open up a huge run. Some guys don't particularly like the way I go after guys, so the first personal foul call was just funny because I had four guys beating me up under the pile. And I come out with the personal foul. It wasn't even offsetting. I just chuckled about it."