Robby Anderson, Quincy Enunwa, Jamison Crowder, Josh Bellamy, and Braxton Berrios will now get full-time tutelage by former Pittsburgh Steelers great Hines Ward. Ward had spent the summer with the New York Jets as an intern. Head coach Adam Gase was impressed enough with what Ward brought to the team he hired him on as an offensive assistant. If successful, could Ward be in line to become the next wide receivers coach in 2020? Ray Sherman has spent over 30 years coaching in the NFL but only has the interim tag and is not viewed as a long-term solution after the sudden death of Darryl Drake.
“Hines has stayed on with us throughout the entire training camp,” Gase said. “He’s actually been added to be part of the coaching staff. He’s going to be an offensive assistant, he’s going to be working with the wide outs with Shawn so I think that’s a great addition for us. He’s done a lot of really good things with that group, helping out with those guys. I think it was the right time for him. He’s excited about the opportunity.”
Ward spent his entire 14-year career with the Steelers where he accumulated 1,000 catches, 12,083 yards, 85 touchdowns, and four Pro Bowls. Ward was not only known for his soft hands but also his blocking and hard-nosed play. The NFL adopted the “Hines Ward Rule” in 2009 after Ward crushed Cincinnati linebacker Keith Rivers. The hit broke Rivers jaw knocking him out for the 2008 season.
The tenacity and drive are what Steelers fans loved about the former third-rounder out of Georgia. Helping the Steelers win two Super Bowls helped. Rarely did Ward not shine in the playoffs as he racked up 88 receptions, 1,183 yards, and ten touchdowns.
Ward’s current stint with the Jets is not his first foray into coaching, as he was an intern with the Steelers in 2017 when he worked with the wide outs. He also spent time with the now defunct AAF as the Players Relation Executive.
The Jets need all the help they can get with none of their wide receivers ever hitting the 1,000-yard mark. Anderson, Enunwa, and Crowder are all talented — with the help of receivers coach, Shawn Jefferson, will one of those young players finally break the 1,000-yard barrier that has eluded them so far in their young careers? If Ward can translate the grit and determination, that could land him an induction into the Hall of Fame, into his coaching philosophy, it would not surprise any fans from Steelers Nation.
Could Ward be a candidate for the Steelers wide receiver coach in 2020? Plenty of speculation is swirling around with Ray Sherman having just the interim tag. Ward gets a year of seasoning under his belt with the Jets and returns home to the Steelers, has been rampantly speculated about. This is highly speculative and likely connecting dots that just do not exist.
Look at the experience that Sherman, Drake and former wide out coach Richard Mann accumulated. Mentioned above is how Sherman has been in the NFL for 30 years, but he was also in college coaching ranks for 15 years prior. Drake broke into the NFL in 2004 after being the college ranks since 1983. Mann, like Sherman, broke into the college coaching ranks in 1974 and entered into NFL coaching in 1982. In the Mike Tomlin era, only Scottie Montgomery (2010-2012) had virtually no coaching experience after he replaced Randy Fichtner. Montgomery coached the wide receivers at Duke for four seasons prior to joining the Steelers staff.
Steelers fans will get an up-close and personal look at the Jets’ wide outs during their Week 16 game vs. Ward’s new team. Could this season be an audition for Ward to rejoin the Steelers? Or did Tomlin see enough out of Ward while he interned with the team and want someone with a proven track record? Let us know what you think in the comment section below!