Darry Drake was heading into his second season with the Steelers, and was previously a coach for the Chicago Bears and the Arizona Cardinals
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
Drake is survived by his wife, Sheila, daughters Shanice, Felisha and Marian, and two grandchildren.
A cause of death was not specified in a statement from Steelers president Rooney.