Hines Ward Could Return in ’18 as WR Coach

With Richard Mann likely to make his 33rd season as an assistant coach his last the Steelers could soon be looking for a new receivers coach. That’s where the door could be left open for former Super Bowl MVP Hines Ward.

Ward served as a coaching intern during training camp, and came back to help prior to the Steelers Dec 4 game in Cincinnati. His main objective has been to help rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster perfect his routes, and ability to read coverage.

“I saw the 50-50 catches he made, the strong hands. That’s just natural,” Ward said. “Now it’s more trying to refine the route-running, become a better route-runner, understand the coverage so the game gets slower.”

The connection to Smith-Schuster and the rookies strong performance could go hand in hand to helping Ward join Mike Tomlin’s staff next season.

Ward spoke about helping Mike Wallace, Emmanuel Sanders, and Antonio Brown during his last three seasons in the NFL.

“Just watching their development and how they went on to so much success, I couldn’t be any prouder,” Ward said. “That’s what kind of led me to where I am now, because I remember helping those guys. You see their success and you think, ‘Maybe coaching is something I want to do.’ And then the opportunity presents itself: Coach Mann might be retiring, I’ve always been intrigued with it, my wife’s family lives in Youngstown, it’s close proximity, one flight away from Atlanta. Who knows?”

Show em the Bling

Ward traveled late on Monday night to make it to back to Pittsburgh in time for meetings on Tuesday. He made sure he brought with him his most important pieces of jewelry.

“I brought my rings in this week and I showed those guys,” he said. “And I told them it’s not about stats or getting the credit. It’s about ‘I’ll block for you; you block for me. We win together. We win the championship.’
“And I think seeing it makes you come that much closer. I remember when I saw Mean Joe’s (rings). I looked at his hand and said, ‘Oh, I want one.’ It didn’t matter to me if I had two catches or if I had 10 catches, it was about doing whatever you could do to help your team win. That was my message. And I wanted those guys to see the rings, too. AB has all the stats in the world but he doesn’t have a ring, and that’s what this organization is founded by, championships. So all those guys are motivated. The tempo at practice has been great, the focus, the attention to detail, that’s playoff football, and I think it’s great the younger guys have a taste of it.”

Hopefully Ward can add a third ring to his collection in February.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *