The Eagles are reportedly considering two former NFL receivers for their vacant receivers coach position.
Hines Ward and Bobby Engram are both in the running, according to Paul Domowitch of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Engram is the more experienced coach of the two, but there’s no question that Ward would be a higher-profile hire.
Ward, 44, played 14 seasons for the Pittsburgh Steelers and was a four-time Pro Bowler. He was also a two-time Super Bowl champion and won the Super Bowl XL MVP to cap off the 2005 season.
In his lengthy career, Ward had exactly 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns, which ranks him 14th, 26th and 15th all-time. He was also known as a fierce blocker, tough competitor and was sometimes labeled as a dirty player.
In the summer of 2017, Ward worked as a coaching intern with the Steelers but didn’t become a full-time coach until the 2019 season with the Jets. He spent the last season as an offensive assistant in New York.
According to the report from the Inquirer, Ward has had conversations with some people in the NovaCare Complex about the vacant job. One of those people is running backs coach Duce Staley, who was a teammate of Ward’s in Pittsburgh from 2004-06.
Back in the regular season, Staley and Ward had a long conversation on the field before the Week 5 Eagles-Jets game in October.
Duce Staley catching up with Hines Ward pic.twitter.com/8a3QJbej52— Dave Zangaro (@DZangaroNBCS) October 6, 2019
And if the Eagles need a recommendation about Ward, the Jets’ general manager is former Eagles personnel head Joe Douglas, who left here on good terms.
While Engram, 47, didn’t have the same career Ward did, he was a good NFL player. He played a total of 14 seasons with the Bears, Seahawks and Chiefs, amassing 650 catches for over 7,700 yards and 35 touchdowns.
And Engram has more coaching experience. He is currently with the Ravens as their tight ends coach, but he was the receivers coach from 2014-18 and held the position in Pittsburgh from 2012-13.
Whomever the Eagles hire to fill the receivers coach position will be their sixth in six years and their fifth in five years under Doug Pederson. They have gone from Greg Lewis to Mike Groh to Gunter Brewer to Carson Walch and after firing Walch last week are now looking again. The only coach of those five who wasn’t fired as receivers coach was Groh, who was promoted to offensive coordinator only to be fired two years later.
They really need to find some consistency at the position. And it seems likely that the new coach will have new talent to work with, possibly in the form of a high-round draft pick in a deep class.