Sherman working with wide receivers


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Ray Sherman, left, talks with Blaine Stewart at Steelers practice Tuesday at Saint Vincent College. -- MATT SUNDAY / DKPS

LATROBE, Pa. -- Mike Tomlin wouldn't talk about how the Steelers might go about replacing Darryl Drake as the team's wide receivers coach earlier in the day, saying it wasn't the proper time to do so.

But he did say the team had a plan in place.

It apparently includes former Steelers offensive coordinator and longtime NFL assistant coach Ray Sherman.

Sherman, 67, was on the field for the Steelers' first practice Tuesday as they returned to the field two days after learning of the unexpected death of Drake, 62, here at Saint Vincent College Sunday morning.

He and offensive assistant Blaine Stewart ran drills with the Steelers' receivers before thunderstorms and heavy rains cut the practice short.

While the Steelers have made no formal announcement regarding the hiring of Sherman to replace Drake, it would seem something of a natural fit.

Sherman, who was fired by Bill Cowher following the 1998 season after one year as Steelers offensive coordinator, has spent 16 of his more than 20 years at the NFL level coaching receivers.

Sherman last worked for the Rams, leaving there after the 2015 season.

Ironically, both Sherman and Drake coached wide receivers at one point at the University of Georgia. Sherman was with the Bulldogs in 1986 and 1987 before joining the Houston Oilers in 1988. Drake coached receivers at Georgia from 1992 through 1996.

Despite both men having spent decades coaching in the NFL, they never were on the same staff. Drake was with the Bears and Cardinals for 15 years before joining the Steelers last season, while Sherman has coached with 10 NFL franchises.

Sherman's one season in Pittsburgh didn't work out well. Hired by Cowher to replace Chan Gailey, Sherman was tasked with building an offense around Kordell Stewart, who had a breakout year in his first year as a starter in 1997. But Stewart regressed under the tutelage of Sherman and threw just 11 touchdown passes in 16 starts after having 21 the previous season.

Related: Steelers mourn loss of WR coach
Related: Steelers WR coach Drake dies


[caption id="attachment_871878" align="aligncenter" width="1000"] Steelers training camp, Latrobe, Pa., Aug. 13, 2019 - MATT SUNDAY / DKPS[/caption]

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