Lost in the drama recently engulfing the New Orleans Saints was the fact that the team had no yet hired a receivers coach.
During the 2011 season, former Saints receivers coach Curtis Johnson accepted a job as the head coach at Tulane. Since then, a replacement had not been named.
On Wednesday, the Saints announced that former NFL receiver Henry Ellard has been hired. He most recently served as receivers coach with the Jets.
“We conducted a thorough search to fill the wide receivers coaching position after Curtis Johnson accepted the head coaching position at Tulane,” coach Sean Payton said in a team-issued release. “Henry Ellard is one of the greatest wide receivers in the history of the NFL and has gone onto a successful career as an assistant coach, first at his alma mater, then with the St. Louis Rams and most recently with the New York Jets. He’s worked in a variety of different systems and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our coaching staff. We’re excited to have him and know that he will be a teacher, a leader and an asset to the New Orleans Saints.”
Ellard’s first year with the Saints will be memorable, for a variety of reasons. Apart from the penalties expected to be imposed this week on the Saints for using a three-year bounty program (which could result in a suspension of Payton to start the 2012 season), quarterback Drew Brees could choose to stay away from offseason workouts, training camp, and the preseason — and, ultimately, up to half of the regular season.
Then again, Ellard has plenty of experience with dysfunction. He was the position coach for Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress in 2011.