PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Steelers will a statement on the team's website. "Hines has been an integral part of our success since we drafted him in 1998 and we will forever be grateful for what he has helped us achieve."
Ward will finish his Pittsburgh career with 1,000 catches for release wide receiver Hines Ward.
A four-time Pro Bowl selection, who holds franchise records for receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns, Ward, 35, has spent all of his 14 NFL seasons with Pittsburgh.
"We had a conversation today with Hines Ward and informed him that we plan to release him of his contract prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year," Steelers President Art Rooney II said in 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns. He helped the Steelers to three AFC championships, and two Super Bowl titles.