Hilliard Brings ‘Selfless’ Label To Coaching

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Yesterday evening, the Redskins announced that long-time Giants and Buccaneers receiver Isaac “Ike” Hilliard would be taking over the reins at wide receivers coach on the staff.

Now, we can finally ‘Like Ike.’

Hilliard was a first round (7th overall) pick by the Giants in 1997.  Over the course of his career, he had 546 receptions for 6,397 yards and 35 touchdowns.  As a division rival, he played the Redskins 14 times, tied for the most against any one team.  He also registered career-bests against the Burgundy and Gold in receptions (52), yards (690), touchdowns (7).

And now he’ll be looking to make more happy memories in Washington–ones that Redskins fans can really appreciate.

Despite the superstar pizzazz that seems to come standard with the receiver position, Hilliard has always had a professional, understated approach, which he can impart on the young receivers in Washington.

And even though most players struggle to make the transition to the sidelines, coaching is a passion for Hilliard.

After retiring in 2008, Hilliard wanted to try his hand at coaching the next season, but no paid positions were available.  So Hilliard joined the staff of UFL Florida Tusker’s head coach Jim Haslett as a volunteer with the wide receivers.

The Tuskers had a perfect regular season in 2009, leading the league in passing and scoring, winning by an average of 15 points.  With the success of the offense, Hilliard earned a promotion to the receivers coach position in 2010, as head coach Haslett departed for the Redskins.

Courtesy of Outside the Huddle with the Florida Tuskers, here’s a look at Ike the Coach, circa 2010:

I’m only my second year into it, and I don’t want to disrespect the craft.  A lot of what I did on the field as a player is completely different, and that needs to be brought to the table initially in terms of teaching.  It’s going to be a challenge on a daily basis to not revert to ‘Ike the Player,’ and be ‘Ike the Coach,’ and to continue to be their mirror instead of their crutch.

That’s a profound understanding of coaching psychology for a man who, at the time, had less than a year’s experience.  Following the 2010 season, Hilliard made the jump back to the NFL, accepting the assistant wide receivers coaching role with the Miami Dolphins.

Now with the opportunity to take his career to the next level, Hilliard is faced with the task of taking his young receivers to the next level in Washington.  The results will speak for themselves, but the approach seems to be exactly what they need.

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