PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Pittsburgh Steelers of the past and present are remembering late wide receivers coach Darryl Drake with heavy hearts.
In a statement, Head Coach Mike Tomlin said his heart and prayers are with Drake’s wife and his family.
He said it’s difficult to put into words the grief of the entire Steelers team.
“Darryl loved the game of football and every player he ever coached,” he said in a statement.
“We will use our faith to guide us and help his family throughout the difficult time.”
Tomlin said Drake was a close friend who had a huge impact on his coaching career.
Steelers President Art Rooney II issued a statement announcing the death, saying the team was at a loss of words.
“Darryl had such an impact on the players he coached and everyone he worked with throughout his entire career,” the statement said.
“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.”
To remember the impact Drake left on players, both current and former Steelers are taking to social media.
Wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster said on Instagram that Drake was his favorite coach and an amazing role model.
View this post on Instagram
Was at a loss for words when I heard the news. 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.
Wide receiver Ryan Switzer said coach Drake was one of the greatest people he’s ever been around.
— Ryan Switzer (@Switz) August 12, 2019
Linebacker Ryan Shazier said Drake was a great man in a Twitter post.
R.I.P Coach Drake. this was such a great man. I hate to hear the news about you leaving us but now your in a better place. Lord thank you for allowing me to know him and can your provide strength to his fam. https://t.co/RksXcuzNfk
— Ryan Shazier (@RyanShazier) August 11, 2019
Wide receiver Donte Moncrief posted about how we was thinking of Drake.
Fly high coach Drake.. will forever remember You and the Knowledge..
— Donte Moncrief (@drm_12) August 11, 2019
Cam Heyward, Steelers defensive end, said he was thinking about Coach Drake.
Thinking about you Coach Drake. Your passion, love,and laughs always meant a lot. I hope you are at peace. We miss you so much. RIP
— Cam Heyward (@CamHeyward) August 11, 2019
“Your passion, love and laughs always meant a lot. I hope you are at peace. We miss you so much. RIP,” Heyward tweeted.
Steelers wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey said his heart is heavy after learning of the news.
My heart is heavy. Today Steeler Nation and the football world lost not only a good coach but a great man. RIP coach Drake. Thanks for always standing on the table for me. pic.twitter.com/kyux9O51Gh
— Darrius Heyward-Bey (@theDHB85) August 11, 2019
“Today Steeler Nation and the football world lost not only a good coach but a great man. RIP coach Drake. Thanks for always standing on the table for me,” his tweet said.
Steelers cornerback Steve Nelson passed on his prayers for coach Drake.
RIP COACH DRAKE 🙏🏾
— Steve Nelson (@Nelson_Island) August 11, 2019
Former Steeler Mike Wallace expressed his condolences on social media.
RIP Coach Drake good man 🙏🏾
— Mike Wallace (@Wallace17_daKid) August 11, 2019
“RIP Coach Drake good man,” Wallace’s tweet said.
Former Steeler and current Arizona Cardinal offensive tackle Marcus Gilbert called Drake one of his all-time favorite coaches.
At a loss for words! One of my all time favorite coaches to be around. Rest easy Coach Drake
— Marcus Gilbert (@MarcusGilbert88) August 11, 2019
“At a loss for words! One of my all time favorite coaches to be around. Rest easy Coach Drake,” said Gilbert’s tweet.
Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats said he hated to hear the news about Drake.
Hate to hear the news about Coach Drake. He was a great man and true leader. He will truly be missed. R.I.P.
— Arthur Moats (@dabody52) August 11, 2019
“He was a great man and true leader. He will truly be missed. R.I.P.,” the tweet read.