With wide receivers coach Darryl Drake passing away last weekend, the Pittsburgh Steelers were a team shaken to the core. Losing a member of the beloved fraternity is never easy and having this loss take place during training camp was even harder. The players left work expecting to see Drake at the next practice, but this reunion never took place.
Now the team is trying to move forward toward the regular season while simultaneously honoring Drake's memory. Fortunately, they have found a new method.
When the Pittsburgh Steelers take the field to face the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night, they will do so with a new decal on their helmets. The team announced on the morning of Aug. 17 that this season, they will be honoring Drake during every game with a "DD" decal. According to the photo, which showed JuJu Smith-Schuster's headgear, the American flag will be on the left side of the Steelers yellow stripe while Drake's decal will be on the right side.
We will wear this decal on our helmets this season in honor of Coach Darryl Drake. pic.twitter.com/bj6JZhH0aU— Pittsburgh Steelers (@steelers) August 17, 2019
Recovering from this devastating loss has been difficult for the entire team, but they are making progress after meeting with professional grief counselors and going through the mourning process. The pain will never truly fade, but it will get easier with time.
“We’re all devastated by [the passing of Coach Drake]. I really can’t think of any other appropriate words,” head coach Mike Tomlin said after practice on Tuesday. “Our time and attention in the recent days has been spent in support of the Drake family. Miss Sheila and Darryl’s daughters and extended family – many of us have had an opportunity to spend time with them through this. They’ve been amazing. In making arrangements and adjusting, we’ve tried to be as supportive organizationally to them as we can in what is a very difficult time."
Supporting Drake's family is one part of honoring Drake's memory, as is this latest move by the team. Placing the decal on the helmets shows that the Steelers are dedicated to keeping Drake close during the 2019 regular season. He had a considerable impact on the team, which will only be felt each time the team heads onto the field.