2018 will mark the first season since 2013 that somebody other than Richard Mann will coach the Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers. Mann, who decide to finally retire from the NFL coaching ranks after the 2017 season ended, recently participated as an instructor in the two-day Homeboys Football Camp that was held at Ambridge High School and Mike Bires of the Beaver County Times was able to catch up with him and asked him several questions. One particular question pertained to Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown and what it was like for Mann to have coached him for the last five seasons.
“People ask me all the time ‘How do you rate him compared to all the other receivers you coached over the years?’ I would never come out and say it. My first three years (with the Steelers), I held off saying it. But after being around him the past two years … watching him master all the things I tried teaching him, with all the fundamentals and techniques he already has, yes, he is the best I’ve ever coached. He’s a good one, trust me,” Mann told Bires about Brown.
Mann has coached quite a few great wide receivers during his long NFL career on the sidelines and that list includes Tim Brown, Antonio Bryant, Mark Clayton, Joey Galloway, Ike Hilliard, Keyshawn Johnson, Keenan McCardell, Rob Moore, Andre Rison, Webster Slaughter as well as former NFL tight end Ozzie Newsome, to name a few. In other words, for Mann to say that Brown is the best he’s ever coached says a lot.
During Mann’s five seasons as the Steelers wide receivers coach, Brown registered 582 receptions for 7,848 yards and 52 touchdowns. Last season, Brown set an NFL record in Week 15 by recording his 100th catch of the year, making him the first player in the league’s history to reach the mark in five straight seasons.
While Brown will go down as Mann’s best product, it’s worth noting that fellow Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster became the youngest player in NFL history to amass 1,000 all-purpose yards in a season in his 2017 rookie season and also became the first player in league history to score five touchdowns before his 21st birthday. If that’s not enough, Smith-Schuster also set a Steelers franchise record for the most receiving yards by a rookie, catching 58 passes for 917 yards. That season took place under the watchful eye of Mann.
With Mann now retired, the Steelers have turned to veteran wide receiver coach Darryl Drake to replace him and hopefully it will be several more years before we’re talking about Brown’s replacement in Pittsburgh.