Steelers Coach  Darryl Drake Passes Away 

( Pittsburgh, Pa ) The Pittsburgh Steelers announced the sudden passing of Wide Receivers Coach Darryl Drake Sunday. The team did not disclose a cause of death, he was 62.

“We are at a loss for words following Darryl Drake’s passing this morning. Darryl had such an impact on the players he coached and everyone he worked with throughout his entire career. He was a passionate coach and had a tremendous spirit toward life, his family, his faith and the game of football. Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Sheila, his three daughters, his grandchildren and entire family during this difficult time.”– Steelers Team President Art Rooney II said in a statement.

Drake was hired by the Steelers in 2018 to coach their Wide Receivers. During his tenure, JuJu Smith-Shuster and former Steelers Antonio Brown each posted 100-catch seasons and each player not only had 1,200-plus yards, (1,426 for Smith-Shuster, 1,297 for Brown) each was also named to the Pro Bowl.

“Darryl was a close friend and had a tremendous impact on my coaching career. He was an amazing husband, father and grandfather, and it is difficult to put into words the grief our entire team is going through right now. Darryl loved the game of football and every player he ever coached. We will use our faith to guide us and help his family throughout the difficult time. My heart and our prayers are with his wife, Sheila, and Darryl’s entire family.” Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin said in a statement.

Drake’s football career spanned 4 decades and it began has he was drafted as a WR by the Washington Redskins in 1979, and would play for 3 other teams (Canadian Football League’s Ottawa Roughriders in 1981 and the Cincinnati Bengals in 1983) before his coaching career began as an assistant at his alma mater Western Kentucky in 1983.

His first NFL Coaching opportunity began with the Chicago Bears (2004-2012), then the Arizona Cardinals (2012-2017) before joining the Steelers.

“I’m heartbroken for anyone who had the privilege to know Darryl. As a man, a coach, a husband, and a father, he was as good as they come. I can’t put into words the impact that Darryl had on me.”– Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald said via Twitter

“Today we mourn the untimely passing of Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. Darryl was the former Bears wide receivers’ coach under Lovie Smith from 2004-12, including the 2006 Super Bowl appearance.”-The Chicago Bears said on Twitter

Drake was truly beloved by not just the Steelers WRs but the entire organization which was devastated after hearing the news Sunday. He was truly looked upon as a mentor among other things “Coach Drake was honestly my favorite coach that I’ve ever had in this game. Rest in Peace Coach Drake.”-Said WR Smith-Shuster via Twitter

“Coach Drake was always so positive and upbeat; he will be greatly missed by all of us. Our thoughts are with his family during this tragic time.”-Said Steelers LB TJ Watt via Twitter

Former Steelers also gave their reactions “Words can’t describe the devastating loss of Coach Darryl Drake today. At Georgia, Coach Drake was my mentor and father figure. My thoughts and prayers go out to momma Sheila and the girls. RIP, Coach. You will be missed by many.”- Former Steelers WR Hines Ward said via Twitter

Drake is survived by his wife Sheila and his 3 daughters and grandchildren.

Notes: The Steelers cancelled their Sunday and Monday practices at Saint Vincent’s in Latrobe with flags flying at half-staff. The team will resume practice on Tuesday.

Please e-mail Ray at ray@urbanmediatoday.com

Follow him @urbanmediaRay on twitter

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