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Steelers WR coach Darryl Drake dies at age of 62

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  • By NFL.com
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Pittsburgh Steelers wide receivers coach Darryl Drake died Sunday morning, the team announced. He was 62.

Steelers president Art Rooney II released the following statement on Drake's passing: "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."

"Darryl was a close friend and had a tremendous impact on my coaching career," Steelers coach Mike 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."

Pittsburgh's practice on Sunday at Saint Vincent College in Latrobe, Pennsylvania was cancelled. The Steelers also moved their previously scheduled practice on Monday to Tuesday.

Drake was entering his second season as Pittsburgh's wide receivers coach. He had previously spent nine seasons coaching wide receivers with the Chicago Bears (2004-12) and five seasons with the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17) before joining Pittsburgh. Over the course of his 15-season professional coaching career, he coached the likes of Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald and Antonio Brown.

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 JuJu Smith-SchusterTyrann Mathieu, Ryan Clark and Josh McCown, and coaches who have worked alongside him, like Bruce Arians and Freddie Kitchens.

Drake spent 21 seasons coaching in college prior to entering the NFL coaching ranks. He made stops at Western Kentucky (1983-91), Georgia (1992-96), Baylor (1997) and Texas (1998-2003).

Before he turned to coaching, Drake was a wide receiver at Western Kentucky in the mid-1970s. He participated in two training camps as a player with the Washington Redskins (1979) and Cincinnati Bengals (1983).

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