After 33 years of coaching, five with the Pittsburgh Steelers, wide receiver coach, Richard Mann, is calling 2017 his last ride.
Steelers wide receiver’s coach Richard Mann has decided the 2017 season will be his last. Not only has he been coaching in the NFL for over 3 decades but, at least if we consider the players under him, he’s been getting better and better at his craft as time has gone on.
In recent years, Pittsburgh has been working with arguably the best Steelers offense of all time and the best offense in the NFL today. Richard Mann’s contribution to that fact has been under appreciated.
In 2012, the year prior to Mann joining Pittsburgh, the team was 21st in overall offense and 14th in passing. Mann joined the team in 2013 and Pittsburgh went to 20th in offense and 12th in passing. In 2014, Pittsburgh was 2nd in both overall offense and passing offense. Pittsburgh has not dropped below 7th in overall offense or passing offense since.
Furthermore, Richard Mann was key to the development of the likes of Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Emmanuel Sanders, and Markus Wheaton. He was also key to renewing the careers of the likes of Jerricho Cotchery and Darrius Heyward-Bey.
The Steelers are not the only team where Richard Mann has made a mark. He helped take a few Browns teams to the playoffs in the late 80s. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mann went to the Super Bowl in 2002, where he got his only ring.
He was also key to the development of of players like Keyshawn Johnson and Wes Welker.
It’s looking like his retirement season is shaping up to be one of his best. According to Ryan Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Richard Mann said of the current pool of talent, “I don’t know if I’ve had this much depth. There’s nothing like competition. I love competition. It makes me a better coach. In the end, we have to make some tough decisions. That’s a good thing.”
Pittsburgh has a ton of depth, too much. There is going to be some serious talent getting cut before the team starts the season. Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Sammie Coates, Juju Smith-Schuster, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Eli Rogers, Cobi Hamilton, Justin Hunter, and Demarcus Ayers are 9 players who belong on an NFL roster. It’s one of those good problems and it’s in large part due to Richard Mann’s influence.
The Steelers players are going to miss Mann as well. Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times quoted Martavis Bryant as saying, “He’s understanding. He’s a players coach. All I can do is take advantage of the time we have with him now and make sure it ends on a good note.”
If it’s got to end, I’m sure everyone would be happy with that ending.