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Hines Ward on return trip to 'Revis Island'

1/19/2011

PITTSBURGH -- Steelers receiver Hines Ward admits trips to "Revis Island" can be frustrating.

It's often a lonely place. The quarterback rarely looks your way and for four quarters there's not many opportunities.

Indianapolis Colts receiver Reggie Wayne found that out the hard way in the wild-card round. So did Deion Branch of the New England Patriots in the divisional playoffs.

Next up will be Ward, a 13-year veteran and future Hall of Famer who says he has some "old tricks" ready for Sunday's AFC title game against the New York Jets. In their previous meeting in Week 15, Ward was guarded primarily by Jets corner Darrelle Revis and caught just two passes for 34 yards. Ward was only targeted three times.

"Can he be beaten? Yeah, he can be beaten," Ward said. "But at the same time he's one of those guys you don't want to mess with. If you make a mistake he's a game-changer. A lot of quarterbacks just stay a away from him. So as a wide receiver you can get frustrated, because you're not even getting looked at when he's covering you."

With Revis on Ward, younger receivers such as Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown will have to make plays. The trio combine for just four years experience but have made plays all season. Wallace, one of the fastest players in the NFL, will primarily face the athletic Antonio Cromartie from the Jets.

But Ward, who has two Super Bowl rings, has been "Mr. Playoffs" for the Steelers. Ward caught a touchdown pass in the past week's win over Baltimore and hopes to get the best of Revis a few times, which would be big for the Steelers.

"For me, I just have to stay focused and not get frustrated," Ward said. "It's not about Revis against me. It's Steelers versus the Jets. So I have to go out there and work my tail off to get open.

"He's one of the best cornerbacks in our league. He's probably the best cornerback in our league. I look at it as a challenge."