Sherman Named Steelers Interim WR Coach

Sherman, 67, has 18 years of NFL WR coach experience

Josh Rowntree
August 22, 2019 - 10:24 am
Steelers interim WR coach Ray Sherman at training camp in 2019

Josh Rowntree - 93.7 The Fan

The Steelers have named Ray Sherman as the team’s interim wide receivers coach, the team announced Thursday morning. 

Sherman, 67, replaces the late Darryl Drake, who passed away on Aug. 11 in his dorm room at Saint Vincent College during Steelers training camp. 

A coaching veteran for over four decades, including 18 as an NFL wide receiver coach, Sherman immediately assisted helping the receivers following Drake’s death. He had already been in camp as a coaching consultant. 

“That helped a lot,” said receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. “To go through this, at a young age, at 22 years old, there’s no words, no feelings that can explain what we were going through. Ray, he’s been retired and for him to come out of his way to be here, it means a lot, not only to myself, but the receivers in the room. We don’t want to change that.”

Sherman has not officially been on a coaching staff since the 2015 season. 

“He’s a guy who has coached everybody, from Jerry Rice to young guys like us. It’s the best opportunity to have him step in and play that role for us. It takes all of us together. We’re in this together.”

"During camp, he's been pretty cool, good information and what not," rookie wideout Diontae Johnson said. "I've just been trying to pick his brain and what not and listen to him and get as much information as I can from him. Obviously, he's coached a couple of great receivers, too." 

Like Drake, Sherman has a long background, including a previous stop in Pittsburgh as the offensive coordinator under Bill Cowher in 1998.

"Ray's experience and expertise is invaluable and that's one of the reasons why he went to camp with us," Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. "He was initially here as a visiting coach, which we do from time to time, guys with his type of experience that can sit back and watch us as we instruct so we can glean information about how to better do our jobs. That was his original function, obviously circumstances changed and I'm glad he was available and familiar with us and us with him.

"We're going to try to push forward and he's going to put his hand in the pile and instruct our receivers and we're completely comfortable with his overall readiness and capabilities there." 

Following a playing career at Fresno State, the 67-year-old Sherman held 20 different coaching titles in collegiate and professional football.

In the NFL, he has been a wide receivers coach for the Houston Oilers, Atlanta Falcons, San Francisco 49ers, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys and, most recently, the St. Louis Rams, where he held the position from 2012 to 2015. 

Sherman’s one year in Pittsburgh was a rocky one. The Steelers went 7-9 and finished 28th in points scored and 25th in yards. The poor numbers led to his dismissal at the end of the season. 

He was hired as the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive coordinator the next season, lasting just one year.