Ben Roethlisberger comforts JuJu Smith-Schuster over Darryl Drake’s passing
The Pittsburgh Steelers returned to practice on Tuesday for the first time since the team was blindsided by the sudden death of wide receivers coach Darryl Drake on Sunday.
The mood at training camp amid the devastating loss of Drake was unsurprisingly somber, and a heartbreaking moment between Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster was captured by photojournalist Ed Thompson, who shared the images on Twitter.
Roethlisberger is shown in the photos comforting Smith-Schuster while the two sit on a bench. It’s evident by the images that the young Steelers wide receiver has been left shaken by his coach’s passing.
Rough day at @steelers camp today; the first day back after Coach Drakes sudden death. @TeamJuJu was visibly still shaken and @_BigBen7 tried to ease the pain. @247Sports @AllanBell247 pic.twitter.com/8S4I3Zn1Ni— Ed Thompson ™️ (@ThompsonFoto12) August 13, 2019
Another photo from Tuesday showed the flag at half mast as Steelers receivers converged on the practice field.
The Steelers have also been sharing images and retweeting footage from camp showing how the organization and fans are remembering the late wide receivers coach.
A special moment before Tuesday’s practice for Coach Drake. pic.twitter.com/gQh55qPzrx— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 13, 2019
In memory of Coach Drake. #SteelersCamp | #SteelersNation pic.twitter.com/HGfdZZ3fGD— SteelersNationUnite (@SteelersUnite) August 14, 2019
Steelers owner Art Rooney issued an emotional statement on behalf of the organization addressing Drake’s death at the age of 62. Head coach Mike Tomlin also indicated Drake will be honored by the team throughout the 2019 season.
“We fully intend to pay our respects to Coach Drake continuously not only in the upcoming days but this weekend when we step back into a stadium but continually as we pushed through this journey that is 2019,” Tomlin said, per Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.