Gators in the NFL: Steelers hire Ike Hilliard as new wide receivers coach


PITTSBURGH — Ike Hilliard is the new wide receivers coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The club announced the move Tuesday. Hilliard replaces Darryl Drake, who passed away last August during the early days of training camp. Ray Sherman filled the role on an interim basis last season.

Hilliard caught 546 passes during a 12-year NFL career split between Tampa Bay and the New York Giants after being drafted out of UF. He spent the last six seasons as the wide receivers coach for the Washington Redskins. Hilliard previously worked as an assistant with the Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills.

He takes over a young group that includes JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington and Diontae Johnson. The Steelers finished 8-8 last season and played most of the year without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who went down in Week 2 with a right elbow injury.

Hilliard, 43, is the second assistant brought on by the Steelers during the offseason. Matt Canada joined the staff as quarterbacks coach last month.

Offensive tackle D.J. Humphries re-signs with Cardinals on 3-year deal:

Arizona’s offense showed plenty of potential during quarterback Kyler Murray’s rookie season. Now the Cardinals have made sure to keep the talented big man at left tackle who protects him.

The Cardinals announced Tuesday that they’ve re-signed D.J. Humphries to a three-year contract that keeps him with the team through 2022. The 26-year-old started all 16 games at left tackle last season, anchoring an offensive line that exceeded expectations under first-year coach Kliff Kingsbury.

Humphries said Tuesday he’s “a loyal dude” and always believed a deal would get done.

“I knew I wasn’t leaving Arizona,” Humphries said. “That was never a question. You know I’ve got to play a little hardball, play a little tough, act like you’ve got big britches, but I knew I wasn’t leaving Arizona. This place has embraced me in every way, even when I shouldn’t have been embraced. So for me, it’s an honor to be here and be able to stay here.”

The team did not disclose contract terms. NFL Network reported that the deal is worth $45 million, including $29 million guaranteed.

The 6-foot-5, 307-pound Humphries has started 43 games for the Cardinals since being selected in the first round of the 2015 draft out of Florida. He missed big chunks of the 2017 and 2018 seasons because of injuries, but bounced back with his best season and played all 16 games for the first time.

It’s a big week for Humphries, who already signed his big contract and is getting married this weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina. Once he gets back, he’s focused on getting the Cardinals back to the playoffs and eventually to the Super Bowl.

“I feel like everything that we need is in the building, the core that we need is in the building,” Humphries said.

The Cardinals finished 5-10-1 in 2019, but the offense showed considerable improvement. Murray threw for 3,722 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and also ran for 544 yards and four touchdowns.

Retaining Humphries was a big part of the team’s offseason plans and now the focus turns to others such as running back Kenyan Drake, who is also a free agent after playing well following a mid-season trade from the Miami Dolphins. Drake ran for 643 yards and eight touchdowns — including four in one game against the Browns — during his eight games with the Cardinals.

Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III: Cut by the Houston Texans.

Hargreaves signed with the Texans in November after he was cut by Tampa Bay after he was benched during a game. After that game, Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians said Hargreaves “didn’t look like he was hustling to go in for a tackle.”

Hargreaves, 24, was drafted by Tampa Bay with the No. 11 overall pick in 2016. In 41 career games, the Florida product has two interceptions, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 186 tackles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.