(AP) — Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins was killed in an auto accident Saturday in Florida.
Haskins’ agent, Cedric Saunders, told ESPN about the quarterback’s death, and the Steelers released a statement extending their condolences.
“I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “He quickly became part of our Steelers family upon his arrival in Pittsburgh and was one of our hardest workers, both on the field and in our community. Dwayne was a great teammate, but even more so a tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Kalabrya, and his entire family during this difficult time.”
The 24-year-old Haskins was selected by Washington in the first round of the 2019 draft out of Ohio State. He started seven games as a rookie, going 2-5. He was 1-5 in six starts the next season for the team, then was released.
Washington coach Ron Rivera said he was “absolutely heartbroken” to learn of Haskins’ death.
“Dwayne was a talented young man who had a long life ahead of him,” Rivera said in a release. “This is a very sad time and I am honestly at a loss for words. I know I speak for the rest of our team in saying he will be sorely missed. Our entire team is sending our heartfelt condolences and thoughts and prayers to the Haskins family at this time.”
Ohio State posted a photo of Haskins on its Twitter feed. It read: “Leader. Legend. Forever a Buckeye.”
The Steelers gave Haskins a chance to resurrect his career in January 2021 when they signed him a month after being released by Washington. Humbled by the decision, Haskins stressed he was eager to work hard and absorb as much as he could from Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph. He made the roster as the third-stringer but only dressed once, serving as the backup in a tie with Detroit after Roethlisberger was placed into the COVID-19 protocol the night before the game.
“The world lost a great person today,” Steelers star T.J. Watt posted on Twitter. “When Dwayne first walked into the locker room I could tell he was an upbeat guy. He was always making people smile, never taking life for granted.”
Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert both praised Haskins for his improvement since joining the team, and the Steelers re-signed him to a one-year deal as a restricted free agent in March. He was expected to compete with Rudolph and Mitch Trubisky for a spot.
“We’re excited to see what Dwayne can provide, either from competition, or maybe he evolves as a starter,” Colbert said in January.
Haskins appeared to be working in South Florida this week with several teammates, including Trubisky and other skill position players, including running back Najee Harris and tight end Pat Freiermuth.
“Devastated,” Rudolph said on social media.
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