The Steelers on Thursday made an expected move and named veteran NFL coach Ray Sherman as their interim wide receivers coach for the 2019 season.
Sherman, 67, had been with the team throughout training camp this season, joining the team as an observer, but taking over many of those duties after the unexpected death of receivers coach Darryl Drake Aug. 11.
This is the second time Sherman will be working for the Steelers. He was the team's offensive coordinator in 1998, serving in that role for one year before being fired by head coach Bill Cowher.
Sherman brings 30 years of experience to the Steelers, having coached for a number of teams around the league.
He takes over a receivers group that is very young. Despite entering his third season in the NFL, star receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster is still just 22 years old, while the Steelers have used high draft picks on James Washington and Diontae Johnson in each of the past two seasons.
Veteran Donte Moncrief, signed as a free agent this year, is 26, while Eli Rogers is the elder statesman of the group at 27.
Sherman has been helped through the process by coaching assistant Blaine Stewart as he gets up to speed.
"A guy who has been here,” said Smith-Schuster of what it means to have Sherman helping to guide the team through a difficult time. “He has coached everybody from Jerry Rice to young guys like us. It’s the best opportunity to have him step up and play that role for us. Also, Blaine (Stewart) is doing a great job. It just takes all of us together. We are in this together.
“To go through this at a young age, 22 years old, there are no words that can explain what we are going through. For Ray, he was retired. For him to come out of his way to be here, it means a lot not only to myself but to the receivers in the room. We don’t want to change that.”
Sherman had last coached with the Rams as wide receivers coach from 2012 through 2015.