Pittsburgh Steelers Wide Receivers Coach Darryl Drake Is Dead at 62

Darryl Drake

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". Previously, Drake was the wide receivers coach for the Chicago Bears (2004-12) and the Arizona Cardinals (2013-17). The cause of death was not disclosed.

"Darryl was a close friend and had a tremendous impact on my coaching career".

"He was an awesome husband, father and grandfather, and it is hard to put into words the grief our entire team is going through right now", Tomlin said. The NFL must go on, but Darryl Drake's contributions to Pittsburgh and to the game of football will not be forgotten. "I will always cherish the good times and the many laughs we had".

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After a year as the offensive coordinator at Baylor, Drake would spend the next five seasons as the receivers coach at the University of Texas, with the title of associate head coach being added to his job title during in 2003. "Let faith guide us all through this incredibly hard moment... sending prayers to all of the extended Drake family, especially to his incredible wife Sheila and their lovely children". He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for Western Kentucky in 1983 and spent 21 years in the college ranks before making his mark as an assistant coach in the National Football League from 2004-2019. The Louisville native was initially resistant to getting into coaching, but he eventually accepted an offer to join Western Kentucky's staff as a graduate assistant. Drake's top two receivers, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Antonio Brown, broke the franchise record for most combined receiving yards by a pair of teammates (2,273) in a single season.

"Our prayers and thoughts are with his wife, Sheila, his three daughters, his grandchildren, and (his) entire family during this hard time".

Drake, 62, had been with the Steelers since replacing longtime receivers coach Richard Mann at the end of the 2017 season, following Mann's retirement. The team is expected to return to practice Tuesday. He died early Sunday and had been active in coaching the Steelers through training camp and Pittsburgh's preseason opener Friday night.

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