On Tuesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Steelers returned to training camp following the sudden death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake. The team spent two days away from the field to support Drake’s family and spend time healing.
The 62-year-old Drake was hired by the Steelers in 2018. Overall, he had been an assistant in the NFL since 2004.
It was a somber return as the team dealt with tragedy.
Heartbreaking photos from practice show star wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster being consoled by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. Weather forced the team to end practice early.
Powerful images of Ben Roethlisberger consoling JuJu Smith-Schuster the first day back at camp after the sudden death of Steelers WR coach Darryl Drake.
— ESPN (@espn) August 14, 2019
Despite being around Drake for just two years, it’s clear the impact he had on the young wide receiver.
Head coach Mike Tomlin said the team is devastated by the loss of their coach and friend. “Professionally, obviously the loss is significant, but personally it’s even bigger, Tomlin said this week.
“Darryl was a close friend and had a tremendous impact on my coaching career,” Tomlin said. “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.”
Tomlin ordered grief counselors to Steelers training camp at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe to help the team.