News of Dwayne Haskins’ death stunned the sports world Saturday morning and with good reason.
He was just 24. He would have been 25 on May 3. He was, perhaps, just months away from taking over as the starting quarterback for one of the most storied franchises, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in the NFL.
The future appeared bright. But in the blink of an eye, it was all gone.
A day later, we take a look back at what we know about how Haskins died, and a look at how the sports world reacted.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT HASKINS’ DEATH
Haskins re-signed with the Steelers on March 11, and he was reportedly in South Florida training with teammates to get ready for the upcoming season.
He posted a video, too, Friday to his Instagram that showed him joking around with running back Najee Harris. It appears to have been his last social media post.
The Florida Highway Patrol said that Haskins was attempting to cross the westbound lanes of I-595 in Broward County at 6:37 a.m. Saturday when he was struck by a dump truck. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to multiple reports.
A traffic homicide investigation is open.
It is unknown why Haskins was trying to cross the expressway on foot.
REACTION FROM AROUND THE NFL
Almost all of the athletes and coaches who spoke about Haskins following his death Saturday brought up his smile and his vibrant personality.
Pittsburgh receiver Chase Claypool posted a video of himself crying to Twitter Saturday evening.
“Dwayne, I was just with you … and I love you brother,” he says in the clip.
Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was one of the first to issue a statement via the team shortly after news of Haskins’ death broke.
“I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins,” 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.”
He was remembered by teammates, too.
“The world lost a great person today,” TJ Watt wrote 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. His impact on me will last forever.”
Cam Heyward also posted his thoughts.
“Dwayne meant so much to so many people,” Heyward wrote on Twitter. “His smile was infectious and he was a guy you wanted to be around. We are all in shock about losing him. We are going to miss the heck out of him as well. We lost you way too early. Luckily I got a chance to get to know you. RIP DH.”
Haskins was remembered around the league, too.
Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who played behind Haskins at Ohio State, tweeted “Tough to find the words … you will be missed,” with a clip of he and Haskins embracing at midfield following a game between the Bengals and Steelers.
“I am absolutely heartbroken to hear the news of the passing of Dwayne Haskins Jr.,” Washington football coach Ron Rivera, who coached him during his first two seasons in the league, said in a statement. “Dwayne was a talented young man who had a long life ahead of him. 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.”
“RIP Dwayne Haskins …” Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray tweeted. “Heartbreaking … Prayers to his family and loved ones. Love yours while they’re here!”
“Wow, may you rest Rest in Peace big bro!,” former Harrisburg High, Penn State and current Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons tweeted.
MORE ON DWAYNE HASKINS
Haskins was a star at Ohio State before being selected 15th overall in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Washington Commanders. He was released by the team during the 2020 season and picked up by the Steelers going into the 2021 season.
Haskins was born in New Jersey, and even trained in central Pa. as a youth. He played at Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland before going on to become a highly decorated player with the Buckeyes despite playing only one season as a starter. It was a heckuva season, though, as Haskins set Buckeyes records with 4,831 passing yards to go with 50 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
That helped make him a semifinalist for the Maxwell Award, and he finished third in the Heisman voting.
Haskins was also a first-team All Big-Ten pick in 2018, and was the MVP of the Big Ten title game that year. He was the Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year, too, and won the Sammy Baugh Trophy and Kellen Moore Award that year.
He was the 2019 Rose Bowl MVP.
Haskins signed a reported $14.37 million deal with Washington in 2019, and showed some promise, even winning Pepsi Rookie of the Week for his performance in a Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions. But Haskins struggled some in 2020, and after running afoul of the team for reportedly breaking COVID-19 protocols, among other things, he was released during the season.
The Steelers signed him in January of 2021, and he spent last season behind Ben Roethlisberger and Mason Rudolph on the depth chart, and was inactive for all but one game. However, his big arm, big upside and what he was able to show in his one season with the team, was enough to convince the Steelers to re-sign him in early March. He was expected to compete with newly signed Mitch Trubisky and Mason Rudolph for a shot to replace the retired Roethlisberger.
Roethlisberger, too, tweeted about Haskins’ smile Saturday, said he wished he had spent more time with him, and that “I still wish I could throw the ball like you!” He also said that he and his wife will be praying for Haskins’ wife, Kalabrya.