After more than a week of various reports about the Steelers choice for their new wide receivers coach, the team has officially announced Ike Hilliard as their choice for the 2020 season.
Last Sunday it was reported the Steelers had hired Bryan McClendon from the University of South Carolina. On Monday, another report surfaced that former Steeler Jerricho Cotchery was also in the running for the position. By the end of the week, it was reported that the position had come down to the two candidates. On Saturday, South Carolina reported McClendon would be returning for the 2020 season. While it was believed the Steelers would soon be selecting Cotchery as their choice, the Steelers announced Hilliard as their wide receivers coach on Tuesday.
The details of the process of the selection of Hilliard over Cotchery are not clear at this time. Regardless, the Steelers now have their coach in place as they head into the NFL combine, free agency, and the NFL draft.
Hilliard’s coaching experience started as an assistant wide receivers coach with the Miami Dolphins in 2011, but in 2012 Hilliard was brought in as a wide receivers coach under Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins. But 2013 saw him leave Washington and head to the Buffalo Bills with the same position title. In 2014 he came back to the nation’s capital under Jay Gruden, and stayed there through the 2019 season. During the 2019 season, Hilliard helped to develop a group of rookie wide receivers which included Terry McLaurin, Kelvin Harmon and Steven Sims. McLaurin finished the season with 58 receptions for 919 yards and 7 touchdowns, and was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team.
Drafted as the seventh selection overall in the 1997 draft by the New York Giants, Hilliard played eight seasons in New York where he caught 30 touchdowns. Hilliard finished his playing career in Tampa Bay where he played four seasons and added another eight touchdowns. Hilliard might be best known for his 10 reception, 155 yard, and two touchdown performance in the 2000 NFC Championship game. After defeating the Minnesota Vikings 41-0 to advance to Super Bowl XXXV, the Giants eventually fell to the Baltimore Ravens.
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