BEREA - Browns nickelback Daven Holly will be looking for Steelers receiver Hines Ward on Sunday. He has a big hit to deliver.
"No doubt. That`s the way I play football," Holly said Thursday. "I`m looking to get every chance I can to go out there and compete and get him back."
After two months, Holly hasn`t forgotten a late block by Ward in Pittsburgh`s 34-7 season-opening win. Ward was penalized 15 yards and fined $5,000 by the league after hitting Holly from the blindside near the sideline and giving him a concussion.
"I`m not going to say hard feelings, but I still remember it," Holly said. "I didn`t see it coming at all. He earholed me."
Holly, who called the hit "heinous" following the game, didn`t play the next week vs. Cincinnati.
"It definitely changes the way you play," Holly said. "You gotta have your eyes open, you gotta be ready, you always gotta look for him. Even if it`s very late and to the edge, he`ll still come and try to hit you. You gotta be on your p`s and q`s when you`re playing the Steelers."
Although Holly was open about his desire for revenge, he said he wouldn`t let his pursuit of Ward affect his game.
"I`m not going to go out of my coverage to hit him," he said. "I`m a professional."
Ward has been with the Steelers since 1998 and is second on their all-time receiving list. He`s always been known as a hard-nosed player who loves to block, but a reputation as a dirty player is gaining momentum.
On Monday night, Ward celebrated a block downfield on Ravens linebacker Bart Scott after a short pass to running back Willie Parker. Ward also knocked safety Ed Reed out of the game with a block.
"He did it again," Holly said. "That`s what he does. He looks for guys to hit when they`re not paying attention. I don`t see him going after guys like that when they`re looking.
"He took those guys out. At least I know he just wasn`t coming after me."
The blocks didn`t sit well with Scott.
"I threatened him," Scott told the Baltimore Sun. "If I see him again, I`m going to threaten him again."
After Monday night`s game, Ward was quoted as saying: "He tackled me and said he was going to kill me. But as long as you don`t shoot me, I`ll be fine. I don`t think there`s any place in the game for that type of stuff."
Scott said his biggest point of contention was the hit on Reed.
"I just think he took some shots that he didn`t have to, and I`m not even talking about my shot," Scott said.
Ward, who was shown in a pregame segment on ESPN on Monday night getting a manicure and pedicure, offered an apology to Holly through reporters after the opener.
"I do apologize if it was late," he said. "I wasn`t trying to hurt the guy. It was a clean hit. It was just a little bit late."
The incident with Holly wasn`t Ward`s first transgression versus the Browns. In 2001, he was fined $5,000 for taunting safety Earl Little after a hit left Little with a concussion. He had to be carried off the field.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.