Steelers Legend Hines Ward Interviews for NFL Head Coaching Vacancy

Hines Ward

Steven Ryan/Getty Images Robby Anderson of the New York Jets is congratulated by assistant coach Hines Ward after a touchdown catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers on December 22, 2019.

On Saturday the Houston Texans announced that they have completed interviews with two more head coaching candidates, including former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward.

The other two individuals who have already been interviewed are Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, the latter of whom was fired on January 10, 2022, after he went 24-25 during his three seasons in Miami.

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Hines Ward Possesses a Modest Amount of Coaching Experience

Ward, 45, is a curious addition to the Texans’ candidate list, as he is currently serving as wide receivers coach for Florida Atlantic University. He was promoted to that role in mid-November of 2021, having joined Willie Taggart’s staff in April 2021, when he was hired to serve as an “off-field assistant” for the Owls.

Prior to that Ward spent two seasons (2019-2020) serving as an offensive assistant for the New York Jets, and before that he did a coaching internship with the Steelers in the summer of 2017, working under the tutelage of then-receivers coach Richard Mann.

As noted by Ed Bouchette of The Athletic, if Ward were to get the job, he would be replacing David Culley, who was Ward’s first wide receivers coach after he was drafted by the Steelers in 1998.

Culley coached Pittsburgh’s wide receivers from 1996-98, then spent 11 seasons in the same role with the Philadelphia Eagles before multi-year coaching stints with the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens. He went 4-13 in his only season as Houston’s head coach.

Ward’s Playing Career Ended in 2011

Hines Ward spent the entirety of his 14-year playing career with the Steelers, who made him a third-round draft pick in 1998 out of the University of Georgia. He finished his career with 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 receiving touchdowns, and made four Pro Bowls (2001-04) en route to winning two Super Bowl titles and being named MVP of Super Bowl XL.

In April 2021, former teammate Alan Faneca chose Ward to be his presenter at his Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement, which took place on August 8, 2021.

In September 2021, Ward was one of five former Steelers players nominated for the Hall of Fame Class of 2022. In November he was named a Hall of Fame semifinalist, but for the sixth year in a row he failed to make the final round, even as former receivers Andre Johnson, Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne made the final 15.

Chase Claypool Loses a Bet With Mason Rudolph and James Washington

Also on Saturday, the official Twitter account of Oklahoma State Football posted a photo of Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool wearing a Cowboys Football sweatshirt while posing alongside teammates Mason Rudolph and James Washington.

One can reasonably assume that Claypool lost a bet on the 2022 Fiesta Bowl, in which Oklahoma State defeated Notre Dame by a score of 37-35. Rudolph and Washington played at Oklahoma State while Claypool is a Notre Dame graduate. Also worth noting is that Rudolph and Washington appear to have Claypool throwing a “horns down” sign, a popular way of taunting Texas football.

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