The Pittsburgh Steelers are mourning the death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake.
Drake, who was heading into his second year with the NFL team, died Sunday at age 62, the team announced.
“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.”
Head coach Mike Tomlin also issued a statement, calling Drake a “close friend” who had a large impact on his 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,” Tomlin said. “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.”
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The Steelers said the team’s scheduled practice on Sunday at Saint Vincent College was canceled.
Drake, a Louisville, Kentucky, native who played college football at Western Kentucky University, joined the NFL as a receivers coach with the Chicago Bears in 2004.
He stayed with the team until 2012, when he moved on to the same position with the Arizona Cardinals.
Both teams remembered their late coach, with the Bears writing on 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.”
We extend our deepest condolences to the Drake family and friends as well as the entire Steelers organization.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 11, 2019
The Cardinals, meanwhile, wrote, “Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Darryl Drake. It is impossible to overstate his impact on the game in nearly four decades as a coach in college and the NFL. Today, the entire football community mourns his loss.”
Our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of Darryl Drake. It is impossible to overstate his impact on the game in nearly four decades as a coach in college and the NFL.
Today, the entire football community mourns his loss.
— Arizona Cardinals (@AZCardinals) August 11, 2019
Charles Tillman, a former cornerback for the Bears, shared a heartfelt tribute to Drake on Twitter.
“I am at a loss for words during the sorrowful time. Darryl Drake was a great man who loved the game of football but more importantly he was a great father and husband. My heart hurts knowing he is no longer with us,” he wrote. “I will always cherish the good times and the many laughs we had.”
I am at a loss for words during the sorrowful time. Darryl Drake was a great man who loved the game of football but more importantly he was a great father and husband. My heart hurts knowing he is no longer with us. I will always cherish the good times and the many laughs we had. pic.twitter.com/QFabqQ5JIH
— Charles Tillman (@peanuttillman) August 11, 2019
Lance Briggs, a former linebacker on the team, also chimed in, writing on Instagram, “Shared a lot of genuine laughs with this man over my career. We lost a great one. You are missed Darryl Drake.”
Shared a lot of genuine laughs with this man over my career. We lost a great one. You are missed Darryl Drake #ripdrake @peanuttillman @54urlacher @bobbywadeaz @bernardberrian @shied25 @moosemuhammad5 @96abrown @devin_d_hester_23 @johnnyknox13 @jerryazumah
A post shared by Lance Briggs (@lancebriggs) on Aug 11, 2019 at 8:13am PDT
Drake is survived by his wife, Sheila, daughters Shanice, Felisha and Marian, and two grandchildren.
We lost a great man, husband father, coach and a dear friend Darryl Drake. Our prayers go out to his family. RIP brother pic.twitter.com/V0U3fvLleP
— Bruce Arians (@BruceArians) August 11, 2019
He was one of the many special assistant coaches we have in the NFL. Today is a sad day. Praying for peace and comfort for his family.
Thank you coach Drake for your investment in myself and many others.
Love you, You will be missed!
— Josh McCown (@JoshMcCown12) August 11, 2019
Lost an outstanding coach and great man. Thankful for the laughs we shared over the years. You will be missed Coach Drake. Prayers all the way up to the Drake family. pic.twitter.com/yzbAUbQkrz
— Jerry Azumah (@JerryAzumah) August 11, 2019
So sad to hear about the passing of my friend and fellow NFL WR coach Darryl Drake. You will definitely be missed by all of us who had the pleasure of knowing you. RIP https://t.co/HND6JD4OBK
— Tyke Tolbert (@CoachTykeT3) August 11, 2019
A cause of death was not specified in a statement from Steelers president Rooney.