Ex-Steelers WR Lands College Coaching Job, Gets Likened to Fast-Rising Coach

Mike Tomlin with Ryan Switzer

Grant Halverson/Getty Images Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers with former NFL wide receiver Ryan Switzer prior to a game against the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte on December 18, 2022.

Ex-Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Ryan Switzer retired from the NFL just six months ago, but it appears he has already found another job in football. According to a report by Bruce Feldman of The Athletic, the former Dallas Cowboys 4th-round pick will soon be named the wide receivers coach at Tulsa. (Switzer has effectively confirmed the news, having updated his title on his Twitter bio.)

“Kevin Wilson who came from Ohio State, sees some Brian Hartline in the 28-year old former college star-turned-NFL wideout in terms of his presence, work ethic and attention to detail,” tweeted Feldman, comparing Switzer to another former NFL receiver who has turned out to be a budding star in the college coaching ranks.

Wilson is Tulsa’s new head coach, having been introduced on Dec. 6, 2022, after six seasons as the offensive coordinator and tight ends coach at Ohio State. Meanwhile, Hartline is the former Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns wide receiver who has been hired to replace Wilson as offensive coordinator for the Buckeyes. Hartline’s seven-year NFL career came to an end in 2015, but his coaching career has progressed rapidly in the years since, moving quickly from a quality control position to wide receivers coach to passing game coordinator and now offensive coordinator.

Switzer Played for 2 of the NFL’s Most Storied Franchises

As for Switzer, his NFL career got underway in 2017 when the Cowboys selected him No. 133 overall out of North Carolina. After one season in Dallas, he was traded to the Raiders, and then quickly flipped to the Steelers, for whom he caught 44 passes and returned 77 kicks over the course of two seasons.

But Switzer never caught another pass in the NFL after he predicted — in July 2020 — that he was well on his way to becoming “one of the best slot receivers in the NFL.” He went on to spend part of the 2020 season on Cleveland’s practice squad and re-signed with the Browns in Jan. 2021. Then he suffered a foot injury during the 2021 preseason and spent the year on injured reserve.

Switzer’s Son Recovered From a Rare Bleeding Condition

In the midst of his career struggles, Switzer’s infant son Christian battled a mysterious bleeding condition, one that proved so difficult to treat that the Switzer family traveled from Cleveland to Boston in the spring of 2021, where rare disease specialists diagnosed what was described as a “vascular anomaly” and performed successful surgery shortly thereafter.

Switzer formally announced his retirement from the NFL in July 2022, having appeared in 41 games for the Cowboys and Steelers. He finished with 50 career receptions for 321 yards and one touchdown and also returned 63 kickoffs and 67 punts.

Switzer recently had the opportunity to reunite with Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin — not to mention ex-college teammate Mitch Trubisky — prior to Pittsburgh’s Dec. 2022 road game at Carolina.

He is now charged with helping to improve the fortunes of a Golden Hurricane team that plays in the American Athletic Conference and finished 5-7 in 2022. Tulsa opens its 2023 schedule against Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Sept. 2, 2023, before playing at Washington and hosting Oklahoma.

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