Ex-Steeler Hines Ward named Apple Blossom sports marshal

Former Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro wide receiver Hines Ward will be the 2017 Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival Sports Marshal, event officials announced in a news release Thursday. Ward will serve as the featured speaker at the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast on May 6.

Taken in the third round of the 1998 NFL Draft, Ward played 14 seasons with the Steelers and retired following the 2011 season as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions (1,000), receiving yards (12,083) and receiving touchdowns (85). He won two Super Bowls in Pittsburgh and was named MVP of Super Bowl XL in 2005.

Ward, who ranks eighth all-time in receptions and 18th all-time in receiving yards among NFL receivers, had six career 1,000-yard seasons and four straight from 2001-2004 while being selected to the Pro Bowl four straight years during that same span.

Ward and NFL Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice, a previous Apple Blossom Festival guest, are the only two players in NFL history to reach 1,000 career receptions and win multiple Super Bowls.

Ward now works as an NFL studio analyst for NBC and has made multiple television and film appearances since his retirement from professional football. He won the reality television series “Dancing with the Stars” in 2011.

The 2017 Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast will be held from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. May 6 at the Winchester Moose Lodge, 215 E. Cork St., Winchester. Tickets can be purchased from the Official Festival Souvenir Store and Ticket Outlet, 212 E. Cork St., beginning at 10 a.m. Friday.