The Pittsburgh Steelers family is dealing with the loss of one of its own this week.
Longtime NFL coach, Darryl Drake, passed away on Sunday morning at the age of 62.
Drake’s passing was completely unexpected and sudden. There were no apparent health concerns or even an inkling something was wrong with Drake.
After his death was announced on Sunday, there was a massive outpouring of affection and condolences from those he has impacted over the years.
His contributions at both the collegiate and professional level are well-documented, so it was no surprise to see players and coaches from dozens of teams express their sorrow at his passing.
Drake was an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky when he signed with the Washington Redskins in 1979. His career as a player in the NFL was unremarkable, to say the least.
In addition to the Redskins, he would also play for the Cincinnati Bengals in the NFL as well as the Ottawa Rough Riders in the CFL.
For all of those teams, however, he would make it no further than a practice squad member. His career took off was when he retired as a player and moved over to coaching.
In 1983, after leaving the Bengals, he would start his career returning to Western Kentucky. After leaving WK as the QB coach after the 1991 season, he would go on to coach for Georgia, Baylor, and Texas, all powerhouse programs.
In 2004, he made his NFL debut as the wide receivers coach for the Chicago Bears. In 2013, he took over as the WR coach for the Arizona Cardinals, then left for the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018.
During his coaching career, he would coach some of the most prolific and exciting wide receivers in the NFL, such as Devin Hester, Larry Fitzgerald, and Antonio Brown.
His death has hit the Steelers family hard, with the team having already canceled at least one practice. Rest in peace Darryl, you will be missed.