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Hines Ward = classless punk

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I once had respect for Hines Ward. Then, I discovered he was a classless punk:

It's tough being Hines Ward, Super Bowl MVP, these days.

"I'm sick of these Super Bowl commercials you see for Sports Illustrated," Ward said yesterday, smiling widely for a man so ill from seeing himself on TV. "Everywhere I go, in a bar, people look up, they look at me, they look up, they look at me: 'Hey, that's Hines!'

"They have the camera phone. They're right here in your face. I'm like oh, geez, I can't do anything."

Then, the thought hits him.

"Hey, Peyton Manning isn't doing that now."

There's a price to pay for winning the Super Bowl and the game's MVP award, and Ward is delighted to pony up. If he's dreaming, don't pinch him, even though he's had little time for sleep. People say, 'What's it like?' I can't even describe it because it's been that phenomenal. It's been amazing, just everything.

"This is fun. I love the treatment. When you can walk in and see all the players from other teams, there's nothing they can say to you. You're on top that whole offseason. I've been all over, to L.A., to Vegas, to Miami and seen all the players from all over. Hey, Peyton Manning, I know you're great and all, but you don't have a ring. You can be all this, all world, but you don't have a ring. I have a ring. There's nothing you can say to me right now."

I guess the art of winning gracefully died a long time ago. When Walter Payton won his Super Bowl in 1986, after years of building up great statistics but no wins, he said his Super Bowl ring was for all the great backs that never won one. Then, he read their names off, one at a time. Walter Payton was a gentleman. He was a man's man.

Hines Ward is a punk.

Forget that fact that, prior to this past season, the Steelers and Hines Ward had blown numerous opportunities to win Super Bowls. The lost at home in the AFC Championship game to New England in 2002, and did the same thing again in 2005. Everyone and their momma called Hines Ward and the Steelers "chokers."

Everyone but Peyton Manning.

Manning has long maintained that Ward is one of the best wide receivers in the game. Prior to this little peak into Ward's character, I'd take him over Randy Moss and T.O. any day of the week. Ward worked his way up from desolate poverty to become a dominant wide reciever in the NFL. If he continues to produce, he might make the Hall of Fame. For years, Peyton Manning has sung this guy's praises while others openly questioned his ability to perform in the clutch.

Yet, Hines feels the need to bash Manning because he doesn't have a Super Bowl ring.

I used to respect this yutz for his class and his on the field play. Now, rank him up their with the turds of the NFL. I mean seriously, you win a Super Bowl, get Super Bowl MVP honors, and then you bash Peyton Manning? Winning gracefully is now a lost art, lost with the passing of great players like Walter Payton. Hopefully, Manning will win a Super Bowl before he retires. When he does, you can rest assured that, like Walter, he'll say the ring is for all the great QBs that never got one.

Meanwhile, Hines Ward will be sitting at home, kicking himself for acting like the turd we now know he is.