Hines Ward Pegged Possible Steelers Candidate After Change to Coaching Staff

Hines Ward

Getty Former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward could be a candidate to be the team's next wide receiver's coach.

On the heels of another change to the Pittsburgh Steelers coaching staff, the most successful wide receiver in the franchise’s history, Hines Ward, has been floated as a possible addition to the team’s staff.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac reported on February 5 that the Steelers are parting ways with wide receivers coach Frisman Jackson. He spent the past two seasons on Pittsburgh’s staff as wide receivers coach.

In light of that change, Steelers Depot’s Joe Clark mentioned Ward as a possible replacement for Jackson.

“One name on the market that will surely be linked to Pittsburgh is former Steelers wideout Hines Ward, who was replaced as head coach of the UFL’s San Antonio Brahmas and was an offensive intern with the Steelers in 2017,” Clark wrote. “He also served as an offensive assistant for the New York Jets and wide receivers coach at FAU.”

AtoZ Sports’ Rob Gregson also floated Ward as a candidate to be Pittsburgh’s next wide receivers coach.

“The Steelers are moving on from current WRs coach Frisman Jackson per Gerry Dulac,” Gregson wrote. “Hines Ward will be a popular candidate for his replacement.”

Steelers Part Ways With WR Coach Frisman Jackson

As The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on February 2, there probably won’t be “an upheaval” to Pittsburgh’s offensive coaching staff. That will likely be the case even with new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.

But some tweaks are to be expected. Given some inconsistency from the Steelers receivers in 2023, it’s not a shock the team is not retaining Jackson.

“Jackson was in charge of a wide receiver room that saw a surge in production from wide receiver George Pickens in 2023,” Clark wrote. “But both Pickens and wide receiver Diontae Johnson displayed effort issues at times, which can’t happen from a team’s top two wideouts.”

Jackson coached in the NFL three seasons prior to arriving in Pittsburgh. He coached the Tennessee Titans wide receivers in 2017. Then, he held the same position with the Carolina Panthers from 2020-21.

In between, Jackson was the wide receivers coach at Baylor.

Jackson has more coaching experience at the college level. Beginning his coaching career in 2008, Jackson coached wide receivers at Western Illinois, Akron, Northern Illinois, NC State and Temple before 2017.

At Temple, he was also the program’s passing game coordinator.

Could Hines Ward Return to the Steelers?

With an opening at wide receivers coach, the question becomes if a Steelers-Ward reunion is on the table.

Since his 14-year NFL playing career, Ward has dipped his toes in a few different fields. He served as an NBC Sports analyst shortly after he retired. Ward also attempted a few different venues into the restaurant business.

In 2017, he began his coaching career as an offensive assistant for the Steelers. After his assistant role with the New York Jets from 2019-20, he was then the wide receivers coach at Florida Atlantic in 2021.

It’s difficult to judge what kind of receivers coach Ward might be, but he’s likely to be a very popular choice for the role due to his playing career success.

Ward remains first in Steelers history with 1,000 receptions, 12,083 receiving yards and 85 touchdowns. He won MVP for the Super Bowl following the 2005 season.

Ironically, the 18th anniversary of that game was February 5.

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