There's a lot of talk surrounding the notion Hines Ward would be an attractive option for the Steelers vacant wide receivers coach position.
We're going to kill that idea where it stands.
He makes significantly more money with his TV gigs
NFL position coaches likely make more money than we do as regular folk. Hines Ward is not working a job in a cube. A combination of pro and college football analysis and studio work keeps him likely not far from his NFL salary, which is something a receivers coach couldn't touch.
Where would Ward go as a receivers coach - even a really good one? An offensive coordinator job? That might rival his TV money, but you're talking about several years before he'd get to that point. And the amount of time position coaches and coordinators put in rivals any other job in the world.
His stock can only fall
Ward is probably on Steelers Rushmore. Any media sort in Pittsburgh would jump at the chance to have 15 minutes with him to talk about the team (just like Joe Greene, Jerome Bettis, Terry Bradshaw, Jack Lambert, etc. He'd be foolish to trade all that in to open himself up to scrutiny and criticism. His stock would fall off tremendously if he took the job and bombed.
Who says he'd be any good?
We all know the cliche "Those who cannot do, teach." While the converse of that statement may or may not be true, playing the game of football and teaching others to do it are not even close to the same skill. While both require a level of knowledge Ward certainly has, that does not mean he's able to translate it in a way those who do not have his talent can understand and apply to their own game.
Barry Bonds took all kinds of criticism when he told Sports Illustrated writer, essentially, he doesn't give advice to younger players because he can't explain why he's better than they are. Bonds, an egocentric a-hole, is right. Having talent does not draw direct connections to be able to instill that level of talent in others. Athletic intelligence is not a teachable trait.
Sure, there are plenty of examples of former players who have had success coaching - most NFL coaches were college players, indicating they had some skill in the game. But just look at the man he'd be replacing, Scottie Montgomery. The understatement of the year would be to say Montgomery was less of a player than Ward.
It's fair to say Montgomery, comparatively speaking, is a better coach than he was a player.
Variety is the spice of life
This year was probably the first Ward has spent not being on a football team since he was roughly eight or nine years old. That's a long time doing the same thing. Ward was an old football player when he retired, but he's in his late 30s - not at all an old person. Many athletes who get to the level Ward did are borderline pathologically competitive; it's one of the traits that made Ward the great player he was. That competitive spirit has to be refreshed with new challenges. While one could easily make the argument starting a coaching career could scratch that competitive itch, so could his analyst career. His shining star as a former player will end quickly (a la Bettis, who's studio gig with NBC ended not too long after he started. Incidentally, Ward is now a part of that same Football Night in America crew.
Things can change quickly, and if Ward did, in fact, want to be a coach in the NFL, he'd still have the ability to do that down the road. The same can't be said for his TV career if he chose to try coaching first.