While this isn’t news pertaining to the Pittsburgh Steelers, it is something we would ordinarily cover, so here it is. It was announced yesterday that former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward, who was serving as a coaching intern with the New York Jets this offseason, has been hired by the team full-time as an assistant coach working with the wide receivers.
There were many, of course, who wanted to see Ward serve in a similar capacity with the Steelers. Afterall, he has caught more passes for more yards and more touchdowns than anybody else in team history, and was also a crushing blocker, so one would think that he knows a little something about playing the position. Now he’ll get the chance to prove that as he embarks on a future in coaching at 43.
Ward, who retired following the 2011 season after 14 seasons with the Steelers, recorded 1000 receptions for 12083 yards and 85 touchdowns during his playing career, contributing to two Super Bowl champions and being named Super Bowl MVP once.
He first served as a coaching intern with the Steelers in 2017, but was not retained beyond that. He also spent some time around the team last season, but on an informal basis. And now, of course, he is in New York working with a possibly rising Jets team.
“It was this summer when Joe said something to me about how they kind of talked about bringing him in at Philly at one point to work in a training camp, and he had done it in Pittsburgh”, Jets head coach Adam Gase said of the team’s interest in him. “When his name came up, he reached out to Hines and then I had a conversation with Hines and we got it done”.
Joe is Joe Douglas, who was the vice president of player personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles between 2016 until earlier this year. In June, he was hired by the Jets to serve as their general manager, agreeing to a six-year contract.
“He’s a great resource because he’s done it at a high level consistently”, Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson said. “He’s a future Hall of Famer so what more can I ask for? I’m picking his brain, and he’s more so telling me than I’m asking him, and I’m just staying on top of him. He’s just trying to find ways to get me better in each way”.
Could Ward still wind up back with the Steelers at some point? It’s certainly a possibility. Right now, their wide receivers coach is Ray Sherman, 67, who was essentially retired for several years until he agreed to come on board following the sudden passing of Darryl Drake.
Every indication points to the possibility of this being a one-year circumstance between Sherman and the Steelers, who was originally only in training camp as a visiting coach and served mostly in an observational capacity. If Ward earns his keep, and wants to work with Pittsburgh, they may be interested. Currently, assistant Blaine Stewart is working with Sherman and the wide receiver group.