The Pittsburgh Steelers will spend their week dealing with the tragic death of quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who was killed when he was struck by a vehicle while walking along Interstate 595 in Fort Lauderdale, Florid on Saturday.
Just as tragically, it won’t be the first time the Steelers have experienced such a loss. Haskins is at least the fourth active player to die while a part of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It started nearly from the beginning. Kicker, fullback and halfback Mose Kelsch was one of the team’s inaugural players in 1933. Kelsch played for the Hope-Harveys semi-professional team that preceded the then-Pittsburgh Pirates. He was killed in a car accident on July 13, 1935, after two seasons with the team. Art Rooney served as one of his pall bearers.
In May 1963, defensive tackle Eugene “Big Daddy” Lipscomb died of a heroin overdose at age 31. Rooney and coach Buddy Parker attended his funeral in Detroit, where fullback John Henry Johnson and former defensive back Johnny Sample were pall bearers.
In 1977, rookie lineman Randy Frisch was killed in a car accident while driving back to St. Vincent College near Latrobe after a home preseason game at Three Rivers Stadium. Frisch was riding with a teammate when a car crossed the center line of Route 30 in North Huntington Township. The Steelers held a memorial service for Frisch as St. Vincent.
“You feel so damn helpless,” former Steelers public relations director Joe Gordon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Glenn Sheeley after Frisch’s death.
“It puts every thing in perspective,” trainer Ralph Berlin said.
That’s certainly a feeling that’s being echoed by the players of today. Chase Claypool said a tearful goodbye to Haskins on social media, hours after having seen him for the last time.
Funeral arrangements for Haskins have not yet been announced, but you can expect that the team will be involved in some fashion before the players report to Pittsburgh for offseason conditioning later this month.