The Steelers drafted Ward in the third round of the 1998 Draft out of Georgia and he has spent his entire career with the organization, winning two Super Bowls.
"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. He has meant so much to this organization, both on and off the field, and we appreciate his efforts over the past 14 years," Steelers president Art Rooney II told the team's website. "Hines' accomplishments are numerous, and he will always be thought of as one of the all-time great Steelers. We wish him nothing but the best."
Ward, who will turn 36 on March 8, is Pittsburgh's all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yards (12,083), receiving touchdowns (85) and 100-yard receiving games (29). He is the eighth player in NFL history to record 1,000 career receptions and joins Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice as the only players to record 1,000 receptions and win multiple Super Bowls.
He has also been one of the Steelers' most durable players, missing just seven games over his career.
The team plans on giving Ward his release prior to the start of the 2012 NFL calendar year.