The XFL is gearing up for its third incarnation, and second revival, set to kick off in 2023 following the failure of the 2020 return, which was halted by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although they seemingly ‘did it right’ the last time, and seemed to have potentially fielded a viable product, there was nothing they could do about that situation.
Vince McMahon didn’t have to shutter the doors, though. Indeed, he originally stated that he wouldn’t. But nevermind; that’s neither here nor there at this point. The league is under new ownership and looking for another fresh start. They have teams. They have coaches. Two of those coaches are former Pittsburgh Steelers stars, including wide receiver Hines Ward, leading the San Antonio team.
He fielded questions via Twitter yesterday talking about his ambitions, and as you might expect, his former team came up pretty often as to whether or not he would draw influence from his time there as he moves into this next role.
Asked if he plans to bring a Steelers brand of football to San Antonio, he basically said no—he wants to create a brand, but drawing from his own experiences. “I want to establish a GREAT CULTURE! In PITTSBURGH, the relationship the city has with the team is like no other, but I want to CREATE our own SAN ANTONIO brand of football!”, he said in one Tweet.
In another comment, when asked about what he learned during his time with the Steelers, he talked about it all being driven by the goal of developing champions and the decisions that go into that, from putting together the roster to setting the right practice tone. And the Steelers brand of physicality is “the only way I know”, saying they will develop a team that is tough both physically and mentally.
Since retiring after the 2011 season, Ward has been active in coaching. He served as an intern with the Steelers in 2017, and then in 2019, he landed an offensive assistant role with the New York Jets, in which he served for two years. Last season, he acted as the wide receivers coach for Florida Atlantic University. He was also involved in the Alliance of American Football in 2019 as the head of football development.
As with his players, of course, Ward no doubt hopes to make it back to the NFL. This opportunity to serve as a head coach in a professional environment should certainly bring him some more attention. He has been interviewed for wide receivers coach positions by NFL teams in the past, but I suspect his long-term goals are even more ambitious than that.