Detroit Lions coaches as players: Wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El

SideLion Report

Continuing our series taking a look at the playing careers of Detroit Lions coaches, wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El is on the docket.

As Dan Campbell took on setting a new culture for the Detroit Lions, he assembled a coaching staff filled with former NFL players like himself. As we go through our series looking at the playing careers of said coaches, wide receivers coach Antwaan Randle El is next up.

Prior to landing with the Lions as wide receivers coach in 2021, Randle El launched his coaching career as an offensive assistant for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for two seasons.

Randle El first landed on the radar of football fans in college at Indiana, where he primarily played quarterback. He finished sixth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2001, and became the first player in NCAA history to pass and run for 40 touchdowns in a career.

The Pittsburgh Steelers took Randle El, as a wide receiver, in the second round (62nd overall) of the 2002 draft.

Detroit Lions coaches as players: Antwaan Randle El

Randle El was a multi-purpose weapon for the Steelers right from the start, as a rekindling of Kordell “Slash” Stewart in Pittsburgh. As a rookie, he had 47 receptions, 19 rushing attempts, 69 combined kickoff and punt returns and eight pass attempts (completing seven).

That multi-faceted usage continued for four seasons in Pittsburgh. In 2005 the Steelers won Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks, as Randle El became the first wide receiver to throw a touchdown pass in the Super Bowl when he connected with Hines Ward on a trick play.

Randle El departed for Washington in 2006, taking a nice free agent contract from the then-Redskins. He spent four seasons there (2006-2009), with at least 50 receptions in the last three of those campaigns.

Randle El circled back to the Steelers for what wound up being his final NFL season in 2010, with 22 catches in 16 games before appearing in a second Super Bowl (this time a loss to the Green Bay Packers).

For his nine NFL seasons (regular season), Randle El finished with 370 receptions, 438 rushing yards, over 4,300 combined return yards and 22 completions on 27 pass atempts.

Randle El was drafted in the 14th round of the 1997 MLB Draft by the Chicago Cubs, but he chose to go to college and play football instead.

Randle El has a more talented set of pupils this year than he did last year. He made it clear very early in the offseason he wanted to see additions to foster competition, and got his wish.

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