By Laura Olson / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
HARRISBURG -- Commending him as someone who has used his celebrity status to do "great things," state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Corbett lauded former Pittsburgh Steelers player Hines Ward here this afternoon.
Mr. Ward received a proclamation from the governor, and both chambers of the General Assembly have introduced resolutions honoring his accomplishments on the football field as well as his volunteer work with nearly a dozen community organizations.
"This is the coolest thing ever," he said, grinning, as he spoke briefly on the Senate floor.
Mr. Ward, who in March announced his retirement from the Steelers after 14 seasons as wide receiver, said the three-hour trip east on the Turnpike was his first visit to the state's capital city.
"I wanted to represent not only the city of Pittsburgh but the whole state of Pennsylvania," he said during an afternoon news conference. "I only thought that I had fans in Pittsburgh, but the Steeler Nation is all over. For me, it's great to be recognized all over the state of Pennsylvania. You guys have given me so much. Today is a big honor."
He spent time this morning chatting with the governor, who recounted the history of his office, before posing for pictures with Mr. Corbett and with top legislators.
"He has represented what I think are the finest attributes of a team player and a hard worker," Mr. Corbett said. "Hines has really become part of the fabric of western Pennsylvania."
Mr. Ward, a resident of the state of Georgia, said he intends to stay active in Pittsburgh and in the commonwealth, noting a golf fundraiser for Highmark's Caring Foundation that he attended yesterday: "My whole career has been here."
Harrisburg Bureau Chief Laura Olson