The Steelers made it official today, naming Ray Sherman interim wide receivers coach for the 2019 season.
Sherman has been with the team through all of training camp and in the preseason, initially coming in to observe. After the passing of receivers coach Darryl Drake, Sherman stepped in and has worked with the group since then.
Sherman is no stranger to the organization. He was the Steelers offensive coordinator in 1998 and was the running backs coach at Purdue when offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner was a student assistant in 1984-85.
Sherman, who hasn't coached since 2015, brings with him a wealth of experience from coaching in college and the NFL.
Sherman's coaching career began in the college ranks as a graduate assistant at San Jose State University in 1974. He spent 14 years in the college ranks, coaching at the University of California, Michigan State, Wake Forest, Purdue and Georgia.
He took the leap into the NFL in 1988 as the running backs coach with the Houston Oilers. He spent time with the Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys and St. Louis Rams. During his career he was an offensive coordinator three times, Steelers, Jets and Vikings, and assistant head coach for offense with the Falcons. He has also coached running backs, receivers and quarterbacks at the NFL level.
Sherman hasn't coached since he retired after the 2015 season with the Rams but has already connected with his young receivers.
"A guy who has been here," said JuJu Smith-Schuster. "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."
James Washington said the comfort level that Drake had with Sherman makes it easier for the receivers to feel comfortable with him.
"It's been good because Coach Drake used to tell us that he would ask him questions," said Washington. "For Coach Drake to tell us that explains the type of guy that Coach Sherman is and the knowledge he has and all that he brings to the table as a coach."
Sherman, who is from Berkeley, California, played wide receiver and defensive back at Fresno State.