Dwayne Haskins, 24, the Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback and a former Ohio state star, died Saturday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed in a statement.
According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Haskins was attempting to cross westbound lanes of Interstate 595 in Fort Lauderdale when he was hit by a dump truck around 6:37 AM. He was pronounced dead on the spot.
“I am devastated and have no words for the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins,” Tomlin said in a statement. “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 most of all a great friend to so many. I’m really heartbroken.”
Haskins was a first-round draft pick of the Washington Commanders in 2019, selected #15 overall after throwing 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns in his only year as a starter with Ohio State. In 2018, he finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting, behind Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, after leading Ohio State to a 13-1 record, including a Rose Bowl win against Washington. He completed 70 percent of his passes that season and, at 6 feet tall, is expected to have an NFL future due to his accuracy as a pocket passer.
His college coach, Urban Meyer, wrote in a Twitter post that Haskins was “one of the greatest QBs in Ohio State history, but an even better son, teammate and friend.”
But Haskins struggled in his first two NFL seasons, winning three of his 13 starts in Washington while throwing 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, and was benched in favor of Alex Smith. The commanders released him before the end of the 2020 season for his actions and for multiple violations of the Covid-19 protocols.
“He was a young man with enormous potential and an infectious personality,” Daniel and Tanya Snyder, the co-owners of the commanders, said in a statement.
The Steelers signed Haskins as a backup in January 2021, but he did not play that season. In March, the Steelers re-signed him as a restricted free agent, and Haskins was expected to compete for the runway with Mason Rudolph and Mitchell Trubisky in training camp. Haskins had trained with teammates in Florida last week. His death sparked an outpouring of support from NFL players on social media.
“When Dwayne walked into the locker room, I could tell he was a cheerful man,” said Steelers linebacker. TJ Watt wrote in a Twitter post† “He always made people laugh and never took life for granted. His impact on me will last forever.”