Former New York Giants first-round pick Ike Hilliard is taking his fifth NFL coaching job since his 2008 retirement.
Former New York Giants receiver Ike Hilliard will be mentoring the next generation of Pittsburgh Steelers catchers. The team confirmed that the 43-year-old has been hired as the new receivers coach.
We have hired Ike Hilliard as wide receivers coach.
MORE: https://t.co/efgLmRNeab pic.twitter.com/6O5J10Md2h
— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) February 18, 2020
Hilliard has held the same position with four other NFL squads, most recently with the Washington Redskins over the past six seasons. He received praise for the work he was able to do with first-year man Terry McLaurin, who set Washington rookie records with 919 yards on 58 receptions, seven of which went for touchdowns. The third-round pick’s ranks were good for second amongst rookie receivers.
Other Washington accomplishments for Hilliard include helping the team earn its first year with at least two 1,000-yard receivers since 1999. That came in 2016, with veterans Pierre Garcon and DeSean Jackson earning the elusive tallies.
Hilliard joined the Giants as their first-round pick (seventh overall) after a stellar college career at Florida in 1997. His best season came in 1999 when he earned 996 yards on 72 receptions. Over eight years with the Giants, Hilliard would tally 368 catches for 4,630 yards. Those marks currently rank sixth and tenth respectively in the Giants’ record books.
His most notable New York moment came in the 2001 NFC Championship Game. Hilliard’s 46-yard touchdown reception less than two minutes into the game set the pace for the Giants’ 41-0 victory over the Minnesota Vikings. He would lead the team with 155 yards on 10 catches and would score another touchdown in the third quarter. The win allowed the Giants to advance to Super Bowl 35. His trio of catches for 30 yards led the Giants in the ensuing 34-7 loss to Baltimore.
Four more seasons on the field awaited Hilliard in Tampa Bay. He retired in 2008 and took the receivers coach job with the Florida Tuskers of the United Football League less than a year later. A return to the NFL came in 2011 with the Miami Dolphins, beginning three straight single-season terms with Washington and Buffalo before he found a semi-permanent home upon a reunion with the Redskins.
Off the field, Hilliard recently fulfilled a promise made to his late mother, earning a degree in criminal justice from Florida in 2018.
Hilliard will have plenty of talent to work with when it comes to his new receiving arsenal in Pittsburgh. Former Pro Bowler JuJu Smith-Schuster is entering his third season and young receivers James Washington and Diontae Johnson combined for 1,415 yards last season.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffMags5490