Published: Tue, August 13, 2019
Sports | By Brett Lawson

'At a loss for words': National Football League in shock over coach's tragic death

'At a loss for words': National Football League in shock over coach's tragic death

The Pittsburgh Steelers announced the death of Darryl Drake, who was their wide receivers coach. The team canceled practice on Sunday as well as Monday after the announcement.

"We are at a loss for words following Darryl Drake's passing this morning".

The coach's passing was met with an outpouring of support and mourning from current and former players around the league who crossed paths with Drake, including Tyrann Mathieu, Ryan Clark and Josh McCown. "The NFL coaching community lost a really good person that always took a great personal interest in the lives of the players he coached and the staff he worked with", Kitchens said in a statement. He was a passionate coach and had a tremendous spirit toward life, his family, his faith and the game of football.

Drake is survived by his wife Sheila, three daughters and his grandchildren. The NFL must go on, but Darryl Drake's contributions to Pittsburgh and to the game of football will not be forgotten.

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Drake was entering his second season with the Steelers and had been present throughout training camp.

The team said Drake, who joined the coaching staff in 2018, died early Sunday morning. His college stops included Western Kentucky, his alma mater, Georgia, Baylor and Texas.

Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin called Drake a "close friend" in a statement. "He was a tremendous coach and even better man. Let faith guide us all through this incredibly hard moment... sending prayers to all of the extended Drake family, especially to his incredible wife Sheila and their handsome children". He had previously served as wide receivers coach for the Chicago Bears and Arizona Cardinals.

Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster tweeted Sunday that Drake was "my favorite coach that I've ever had in this game". Johnson, a former standout receiver at the University of Toledo who has shown flashes of his potential this summer during training camp, paid homage to Drake Sunday via Twitter. The Steelers will return to the practice field on Tuesday, and will undoubtedly have Drake on their minds as they look to continue preparations for the 2019 season.

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