PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Steelers held their first day of Organized Team Activities at their practice facility on the South Side, and for the most part, it was well attended. But there was one glaring absence and it was immediately jarring to veteran members of the quarterback's room.
Dwayne Haskins, a former first-round pick who spent one year with the Steelers before his tragic death in April. Now the team, particularly its group of quarterbacks, is contending with the grief of losing someone they worked so closely with.
Fourth-year quarterback Mason Roudolph said it didn't really strike him until he arrived in the position group's meeting room that Haskins wouldn't be a part of the team anymore.
"I walked up to the quarterback's room like I have for the past month and he was the guy who used to sit across the room, in the very same row as me," Rudolph said. "It's just sobering that he's never going to walk back into the room."
Rudolph reiterated the kind sentiments that those close to Haskins shared following his death. Haskins' former teammate said that he was constantly a positive presence, despite the fact that the two were competing for playing time.
"Every time he came into the room, he had a smile on his face. He kept it light and he was a good teammate," Rudolph said. "Regardless of quarterbacks competing against one another - that can be awkward as you guys know, but he was a good teammate to me and to everybody. ... It's sad and hard to wrap your head around. Death is hard."
Newcomer Mitchell Trubisky, a fellow first round-pick like Haskins, echoed Rudolph's sentiment, saying that Haskins left a mark on him even though the two didn't know each other for long.
"It's heartbreaking," Trubisky said. "I think about him every day. I only knew him for a short time, but he definitely left an impact on my life in the short time I knew him. I think about him when I wake up, step on the field, all those things. He's in our hearts and the only thing we can do is go out there and honor him in the way we live our lives."
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