The New Orleans Saints announced today that the club has named former NFL star wide receiver and 12-year coaching veteran Henry Ellard as the team’s wide receivers coach. The announcement was made by Saints Head Coach Sean Payton.
“We conducted a thorough search to fill the wide receivers coaching position after Curtis Johnson accepted the head coaching position at Tulane,” Payton said. “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, a three-time Pro Bowl selection as a player (1984, 1988 and 1989), was also a first-team All-Pro selection in both 1984 and 1988 as a member of the Los Angeles Rams. Over the course of his illustrious playing career, Ellard recorded 814 receptions for 13,777 yards and 65 touchdowns. The native of Fresno, California and graduate of Hoover High School and later Fresno State, Ellard was a second round selection of the Rams in 1983 (32nd player selected overall). At the time of his retirement from the NFL in 1998, Ellard held the Rams' team records for career receptions (593), receiving yards (9,761), 100-yard games (26), punt return average (11.3), and total offense (11,663).
In 1994 he joined the Washington Redskins and posted 1,397 yards receiving, which was 102 yards shy of Jerry Rice’s pace that season. In addition, he had three consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, giving him seven for his career. His final 1,000 yard season came in 1996 and required a 155-yard performance against the Dallas Cowboys second-ranked defense to push him to 1,014 for the season. He moved to the New England Patriots in 1998 and concluded his career with 13,777 yards receiving (third-most all-time), 814 receptions and 65 touchdowns. He also contributed on special teams, with 1,527 yards in the punt return category, 364 kickoff return yards, 50 rushing yards and four punt returns for touchdowns and 15,718 all-purpose yards over the course of his 17-year playing career.
Ellard also owns the distinction of excelling on track and field, qualifying for the Olympic trials in 1992 with a 54.1 foot triple jump.
Ellard started his NFL coaching career with the St. Louis Rams in 2001 as an offensive assistant and was promoted to wide receivers coach in 2003. Under his tutelage, Torry Holt posted seven-consecutive 1,000 yard seasons and reached 11,000 yards in 131 games, fastest in NFL history. He also coached Isaac Bruce to five seasons with 60-or-more catches and four 1,000-or-more yard seasons. Bruce and Holt combined for seven Pro Bowl berths during this period as they surpassed Ellard on the Rams all-time receiving list. He spent the past three seasons on the staff at the New York Jets working with the team’s wide receivers. He broke into the coaching ranks with Fresno State in 2000.
"This is a blessing for me and my family," said Ellard. "To come to a great organization, a great city with great people and to be able to work with such team-oriented men like we have at the Saints is very exciting. I have always admired the Saints organization from afar and truly respect the job that Coach Payton and Mickey Loomis have done to build such a consistent winner. They believe in team and they have shown that they win as a team."