As expected, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Richard Mann has retired.
“I was thinking about it last year. The way things ended, and talking to the players, I wanted to give it one more run,” said Mann on Wednesday. “I was trying to get a Super Bowl ring in Pittsburgh. This is where it all started for me and I had an opportunity to let it finish here.”
Mann, arguably one of the greatest wide receiver coaches in the Super Bowl era, had been with the Steelers since 2013. Since that time he’s helped develop wide receiver Antonio Brown into the league’s best. He’s also coached current Steelers wide receivers Martavis Bryant, Eli Rogers and rookie JuJu Smith-Schuster since they each entered the NFL.
Mann, 70, coached in the NFL for 33 seasons and he made it known prior to the start of the 2017 season that it was likely to be his last.
“I was able to finish my career right where I started. I started in Aliquippa and I was able to finish here with the Pittsburgh Steelers,” Mann said. “I said I probably wouldn’t coach past 70. I am 70 and I still have a lot left in my tank.”
Yes, yes you do still have a lot left in your tank, Coach Mann.
Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin talked about Mann’s legacy on Tuesday.
“We’ve covered a lot of ground together,” said Tomlin, who worked with Mann initially when the two were on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. “The first world championship I was a part of, I was a secondary coach, he was a wide outs coach, so obviously there’s a cooperative workspace there. I was a young assistant. He was a seasoned assistant. It’s been a pleasure to work with that guy on a lot of fronts, but professionally, personally, I’ve learned a lot from him.
“I also realize that efforts from guys like him have provided opportunities for guys like me. When he was coming up, I’m sure, carving out a niche for himself in this business, opportunities like I had weren’t afforded to African American coaches. And so, I’m appreciative of guys like Richard Mann on a lot of levels, not only in terms of what he’s done and what he’s capable of doing, but maybe some of the hurdles that he overcame provided opportunities for guys like me and I’m sensitive and appreciative of that and on that level as well.”
Mann’s retirement obviously now means that the Steelers will need to hire a new wide receivers coach in addition to a new offensive coordinator. Former Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward is probably the odds on favorite to land job being as he’s been working closely with the team the last few seasons. Ward, however, has never been a coach at either the college level or the NFL level.
Mann certainly leaves some huge shoes that need to be filled and the Steelers organization was lucky to have him for five seasons. Best of luck to him and he will be missed.