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Hines is a retired American football wide receiver who played fourteen seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Georgia. Aside from his career in the NFL, Ward has appeared in various forms of television and film media, including the reality TV series Dancing With The Stars, and a brief cameo in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises.
As a wide receiver for the University of Georgia Bulldogs (1994–1997), Ward's 149 career receptions for 1,965 yards placed him second in team history. He also played tailback and totaled 3,870 all-purpose yards, second only to Herschel Walker in Bulldogs history. In 1996, Hines had 52 receptions for 900 yards, and also ran 26 times for 170 yards. In 1997, Hines hauled in 55 passes and scored six TDs, getting All-SEC honors in the process. Ward played some quarterback his sophomore year, and holds Georgia bowl records for pass attempts, pass completions, and passing yards in the 1995 Peach Bowl in which he completed 31 of 59 passes for 413 yards.
When he came out of college it was discovered that Ward was missing an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee, which he lost during a bicycle accident during childhood. According to a Yahoo! Sports article, Ward broke his kneecap in the fourth grade and the doctors never accounted for the ligament. He received his bachelor's degree in consumer economics from UGA.
Ward was born in Seoul, South Korea, to an African American father, Hines Ward Sr., and Korean mother, Kim Young He (김영희). His family moved to Atlanta and East Point, Georgia when Hines Jr. was one, and Hines Sr. went to Germany to serve a tour of duty. The next year Ward's parents divorced leaving Ward to live with his mother and then with his paternal grandmother after Hines Sr. convinced a family court that Kim could not raise Hines Jr. independently, because she did not speak English. Ward would later be reunited with his mother at the age of 7. During this time, Hines Ward Sr. did not support Ward with child support or visit Ward regularly with Ward stating that he talks with his father about once every two years. Ward has stated that he has never reconciled with his father who abandoned him when he was 2 years old. Under the guidance of coach Mike Parris at Forest Park High School in Forest Park, Georgia, Ward showcased his athletic skills as a quarterback, and was two-time Clayton County Offensive Player of the Year.