Steelers rumors: Mason Rudolph latest, Hines Ward return, dark horse QB target

  • Steelers projected to draft Florida State QB Jordan Travis
  • Hines Ward probably won't get WR coach job
  • Pittsburgh is open to re-signing Mason Rudolph

Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers
Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin Berl/GettyImages
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Steelers rumors: Hines Ward unlikely to be Arthur Smith's WR coach

The Steelers recently landed on former Atlanta Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as their new offensive coordinator. Before his much-maligned tenure in Atlanta, Smith was highly effective in the Tennessee Titans' O.C. role. He developed a strong reputation for maximizing talent at skill positions — a reputation he quickly unraveled with the Falcons.

For Pittsburgh, the hope is that Smith can regain his footing with fewer responsibilities on his plate. A lack of confidence in Atlanta's QB room was the death knell for Smith's playbook and head coaching career, so the Steelers probably need to work on upgrading their own QB position. But, for now, Smith is tasked with filling up his support staff and reviving an offense that stagnated under Matt Canada.

Frisman Jackson will not return as the Steelers' WR coach in 2024, which has led to plentiful speculation about who might take his spot. A common prediction is former Steelers wideout Hines Ward, who continues to stay involved in the franchise and the city. Ward spent his entire 14-year career in Pittsburgh, winning two Super Bowls and earning four Pro Bowl nominations. He finished his historic tenure with 12,083 receiving yards and 85 touchdowns.

While the fanbase would surely welcome Ward into the fold, it's unwise to get your hopes up. In a recent appearance on the 'Chipped Ham and Football' podcast, Gerry Dulac spoke about Ward's inability to land the WR coach job in 2018 and how the snub may have soured Ward on the opportunity.

"[Don't] hold your breath... I don't think Hines liked the way it was handled in terms of after helping them out and throwing his hat in the ring and basically being ignored for the full-time position. I don't think that sat well with Hines."

So, while Hines is more than qualified based on his résumé as a Steelers coaching intern and XFL head coach (oh, and his Hall of Fame-worthy playing career), it would appear that he's little more than an outside possibility for the job. Odds are Arthur Smith will bring in someone he's familiar with.