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Steelers wide receiver coach Darryl Drake dead at 62

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The Pittsburgh Steelers announced Sunday morning that wide receivers coach Darryl Drake died overnight.

“We are at a loss for words following Darryl Drake’s passing this morning,” Steelers President Art Rooney II said in a statement. “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.”

Drake, who was 62-years-old, joined Mike Tomlin’s staff in 2018 after a journeyman career in the same position with the Arizona Cardinals, Chicago Bears, as well as college stints with Georgia, Baylor and Texas.

“Darryl was a close friend and had a tremendous impact on my coaching career,” Tomlin said in a statement. “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.”

Drake, a native of Louisville, Ky, played wide receiver at Western Kentucky University from 1975-78, where he would return in 1983 as a graduate assistant. He got his first NFL coaching job with the Bears in 2004, where he remained for eight years until moving to the Cardinals with Bruce Arians in 2013.

In his stint with the Steelers, Drake helped develop all-pro receivers Antonio Brown and JuJu Smith-Schuster.

"Was at a loss for words when I heard the news,” said Smith-Schuster in an Instagram post Sunday morning. “Coach Drake was honestly my favorite coach that I’ve ever had in this game, he taught me so much about football and especially about how to go about life. Coach was an amazing role model not just for myself, but for a lot of people who he touched. I wish I could see you just one more time. It won’t be the same out there on the field, in meetings, and I’m gonna miss all those long talks we used to have. We all know you want us to be successful and to play to win. Thank you for all the memories and life lessons you’ve taught me. Forever in my heart! Love you man. Rest In Peace Coach Drake."

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