It’s nice that Hines Ward keeps saying he wants to come back to Georgia. It’s quite admirable, actually. And it’s also OK if everyone would just leave well enough alone.
In case you missed it, the NFL and Georgia legend made some waves earlier this week by proclaiming his desire to come back to Georgia and coach.
“I always say that if I wanted to get back into coaching, the University of Georgia would probably be my first place,” Ward said. “Just because I want to give back to my university and I feel like I have a lot to offer the state of Georgia, and to the kids.”
Oh wait, sorry, that quote isn’t from Ward’s interview with SEC Country earlier this week. It’s actually from another interview Ward gave four years ago, a couple months after he had retired from the NFL.
Since then, Georgia has had three openings for a receivers coach, the last of which saw Kirby Smart, who was Ward’s teammate at Georgia in the 1990s, hire James Coley.
Ward, meanwhile, has continued to only say (in several other interviews over the past four years) that he’d like to be a Georgia coach, but not really do much else to pursue it. And there are many reasons for that. About 16 million.
Ward is a studio analyst for NBC’s Sunday Night Football, which he’s been doing since he retired. He was announced just a couple weeks ago as a contributor to CNN and Headline News’ Morning Express.
Last year he opened a restaurant and a wine bar in the Atlanta area. And as a past winner of “Dancing with the Stars” – never mind his long NFL career – he’s much sought-after for paid speeches and appearances.
Ward’s net worth – according to the site richestcelebrities.org – is $16 million. And growing, you’d have to believe.
So, is he going to give up even some of that to go to satellite camps, stay up late to watch film, and all the other stuff coaches have to do? Ward would have to work much harder and – even after the exponential rise of coaching salaries – take a pay cut.
Maybe Smart could carve out a smaller, off-field role for Ward. But there would still be NCAA compliance hoops to jump through. And there’s still a time commitment there.
Ward does understand that. In that interview with several reporters, including myself, he said acknowledged that: “Looking at it, the time commitment, it’s a lot of time.”
Maybe eventually Ward will tire of his very rich and vibrant lifestyle and go to Smart and say: Look, I’m willing to do what it takes, just tell me what I need to do.
Until then, the idea of Ward returning to Georgia is a nice story. But that’s all it is.