The Steelers made the tough, but logical, choice on Wednesday and announced their plans to release wide receiver Hines Ward.
Perhaps it's fitting that it occurred on Feb. 29, Leap Year.
One of my lasting memories of Ward – and there are plenty – will be his half-skip, half-leap in the end zone after catching the game-clinching touchdown pass from Antwaan Randle El in Super Bowl XL.
For 14 seasons, Ward has personified the Steelers organization. He was tough. He was gritty. He was a football player.
In an age when many wide receivers have been me-first prima donnas, Ward worked his tail off in all facets of the game.
When he was a special teams player, he was the best special teams player he could be. When he was needed as a blocker, he threw himself into it with reckless abandon. When he was relegated to being a backup, he did so gracefully.
Here's hoping he takes the giant hint the Steelers gave him Wednesday and doesn't attempt to try and come back another season elsewhere.
The Steelers made it quite obvious that they don't feel he can play any longer.
Their concerted effort to get him 1,000 receptions made their intentions obvious. They didn't want the season to end with Ward short of his goal because they were pretty sure they weren't going to bring him back.
And now that's the case.
Some will say that because of what Ward has meant for the team, the Steelers owed him the opportunity to come back.
But that's ridiculous. The Steelers took care of their debt to Ward in Week 17 in Cleveland when they got him his 1,000th catch.
They told him they didn't think he could play any longer.
He is choosing not to believe them.
And that's a shame.
Maybe Ward will come to his senses soon and realize that at 36, he not only can't, but doesn't need, to play football any longer.
The thought of Ward finishing out his career in another city playing for another team just isn't right.