Ward with the Texans in 2010
|No. 44, 34, 28, 32|
|Born:||August 30, 1980|
Los Angeles, California
|Height:||5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)|
|Weight:||240 lb (109 kg)|
|NFL Draft:||2004 / Round: 7 / Pick: 235|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Derrick LaRon Ward (born August 30, 1980) is a former American football running back in the National Football League (NFL). He was drafted by the New York Jets in the seventh round of the 2004 NFL Draft and played for the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Houston Texans. He played college football at Fresno State University and Ottawa University.
Ward attended Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, California and was a letterman in football. In football, as a senior, he posted 1,100 rushing yards, 973 receiving yards, and 17 touchdowns, was an All-Riverside County choice, won All-CIF honors, was the Team Co/MVP, and was named the Sun Belt League Offensive MVP.
For his collegiate career, he rushed 460 times for 3,152 yards (6.9-yard avg.) and 39 touchdowns and caught seven passes for 96 yards (13.7-yard avg.).
He gained 1,091 yards with 11 touchdowns on 197 carries (5.5-yard avg.) and caught three passes for 49 yards (16.3-yard avg.) in 20 games at Fresno State. Ward was ruled academically ineligible to play at Fresno State in 1998, he earned Freshman All-America honors the following year despite playing with a broken right hand. He was limited to only seven games for the Bulldogs in 2000 due to a knee injury. His Fresno State career ended when he was again ruled ineligible to play in 2001 and 2002 due to academics.
Ward transferred to Ottawa University in Kansas for his final year in 2003, when he set NAIA single-season records with 2,061 rushing yards, 28 touchdowns and 7.8 yards per carry (263 attempts). Also had 47 yards on four receptions (11.8-yard avg.) in ten games at Ottawa.
On September 5, 2004, Ward was released by the Jets.
Ward had a good season in 2007 rushing for 602 yards on 125 touches, averaging 4.8 yards per carry and scoring three touchdowns.
On March 14, 2008, Ward was re-signed by the Giants.
Because of their success in the backfield during the 2008 season, Ward and his teammates Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw were jokingly referred to as Earth (Jacobs), Wind (Ward) and Fire (Bradshaw).
On December 21, 2008, Ward led the Giants' rushing attack with 215 rushing yards in a 34-28 overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers to clinch homefield advantage throughout the 2009 NFL Playoffs. He finished the season with 1,025 yards, making him and Brandon Jacobs the fifth pair of teammates to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. The strong performance by both running backs is credited to high grade run blocking by the Giants offensive line.
Ward was signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on March 2, 2009. He signed a four-year contract worth $17 million. In the 2009 season for the Buccaneers he rushed 114 times for 409 yards and 1 touchdown. Ward was cut from the team on August 31, 2010.
On September 4, 2010, Ward was signed by the Houston Texans. On July 3, 2012, Ward announced his retirement via Twitter.