The Pittsburgh Steelers certainly have some big shoes to fill now that wide receivers coach Richard Mann has retired. With Mann now gone, former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is perceived to be the favorite to succeed him being as he’s been around the team occasionally for a few seasons working with that position group. On Thursday, former Steelers head coach and current CBS Sports analyst Bill Cowher was a guest on 93.7 The Fan and he was asked if he believes Ward is the right person to succeed Mann.
“Yeah, I do,” Cowher said. “I had a chance to talk with him a little bit last week when I was in there and yeah, Hines was a self-made guy. Hines Ward, I remember coming out of college from Georgia, they said, ‘Is he running back, is he a quarterback, is he a receiver?’ I said, ‘I don’t know, but he’s a football player.’ And he’s a tough guy who loves the game, he’ll find ways of getting it done and he did that in the National Football League for a pretty good career. So, you know, I think there’s a lot to be said about people that don’t come in as gifted and as talented as other people, but they are self-made and he is a self-made guy that I think would be an excellent coach.”
Not that it really matters, but that’s high praise for Ward even though it’s probably expected. Ward obviously proved during his long career in the NFL that he can overcome adversity and that includes him not really having a real position coming out of college. With that said, Ward has yet to officially coach before at either the college or NFL level so it will be interesting to see how he adapts to job and how effective he is at, assuming he gets it.
We’ll probably find out very soon if Ward will be the one to replace Mann, who coached 33 years in the NFL and helped develop and refine many of the league’s top wide receivers over that span. In fact, we might see Ward’s smiling face on the AFC sideline during the Pro Bowl being as the Steelers coaching staff will be participating.