Texans interview Hines Ward for head coach, adding surprising name to search

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The Houston Texans added a surprising name to their search for a new head coach Saturday. The team announced it interviewed former Pittsburgh Steelers great Hines Ward for its head coaching vacancy.

The team also completed an interview with Los Angeles Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. The Texans interviewed former Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores on Friday.

Of that trio, Ward stands out. Flores and Lombardi have over a decade of NFL coaching experience. Flores started as a scout, and held coaching roles on special teams, offense and defense before taking over as the Dolphins' head coach. His NFL coaching experience spans 17 seasons. Lombardi has 16 years of NFL experience under his belt, serving as a quarterbacks coach or offensive coordinator during that period of time.

Ward has three years of coaching experience under his belt. Ward joined the New York Jets as an offensive assistant for the 2019 season. He was promoted to wide receivers coach the following year. Ward then left the NFL to become a special assistant to the head coach at Florida Atlantic University for the 2021 season. Ward also worked as a coaching intern with the Steelers during training camp in 2017, though that isn't mentioned as part of Ward's coaching experience on the Texans' website.

The Texans are searching for a new head coach after firing David Culley on Thursday. Culley lasted one season with the team, leading the Texans' depleted roster to a 4-13 record.

Hines Ward is a surprising head coaching candidate. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Hines Ward is a surprising head coaching candidate. (Photo by Mark Alberti/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Hines Ward was a standout receiver with Steelers

Prior to coaching, Ward excelled as a receiver with the Steelers. He made four Pro Bowls and won two Super Bowl titles in his 14 years with the team. Ward was named the MVP of Super Bowl XL after catching 11 passes for 123 yards and a touchdown during the contest.

Ward, who spent his entire NFL career in Pittsburgh, finished with 12,083 receiving yards and 85 receiving touchdowns. The Steelers retired Ward's No. 86 and in 2019 inducted Ward into the team's Hall of Honor.

Ward was regarded as a strong leader with the Steelers, and that may be the reason he received an interview so early into his coaching career. That's a quality that should translate well to being a head coach.

It's up to the Texans to determine whether Ward's ability as a leader makes up for his lack of coaching experience.

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