Hines Ward wants to retire a Pittsburgh Steeler, and speaking for Steeler Nation — if I may — we couldn’t be happier.

From WTAE in Pittsburgh:

Ward, about to enter the final season of his contract, agreed Saturday to a contract extension that will pay him a lower salary than the $5.8 million he was to make this season but will make up the money in a signing bonus.

The deal was being finalized Saturday between the Steelers and Ward’s agent, Eugene Parker, but is expected to be worth about $22 million over four seasons, although only a portion of that would be guaranteed.The Steelers were only about $2 million under the salary cap last week, not enough money to sign their draft picks, and they have been working to create cap room since signing All-Pro linebacker James Harrison to a $51.75 million, six-year contract.

Ward is the leading receiver in franchise history with 800 receptions for 9,780 yards and 72 touchdowns.

Besides the stats, however, he’s just an incredibly awesome person.

I’ll make a point of writing more about Hines Ward over the next few days.  Author Jim O’Brien has a number of incredible anecdotes about the man, and I’ll enjoy passing them along to you.

Hines Ward the the Steelers… Foreva!