(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
In a recent interview with Teresa Varley of Steelers.com, Kenny Pickett shared his last memory and conversation that he had with Dwayne Haskins. On the morning of April 9, Haskins tragically lost his life after he was struck by a dump truck while he was walking on Interstate 595 in South Florida.
Pickett and Haskins actually knew each other before Haskins signed with the Steelers in January of 2021. In high school, the two trained at SVS Sports Camp in Lancaster, Pa. with highly regarded quarterbacks coach Jim Cantafio.
The two reconvened in Pittsburgh and both were throwing on a regular basis inside the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex earlier this offseason. In the days prior to Pickett's pro day, Haskins pulled Pickett aside and asked how he was handling things as the draft approached.
"It was really special," Pickett recalled. "Before the pro day we were both working in the indoor. I was going through my pro day scripts. He was throwing with one of the guys. We both got done and we kind of just sat down and talked for about 20 minutes. I was talking to him about my concerns and the draft and things I was worried about. He reassured me that I'll be right where I'm supposed to be, and you can't really control too much.
"That whole process, he was where I wanted to be in terms of the next level…first-round draft pick, doing a lot of great things. It was really cool to have that moment. It's definitely a great memory to have, my last memory that I had with him."
At the first OTAs practice on Tuesday, Mason Rudolph reflected on the first practice without Haskins.
"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.
"Every time he came into the room, he had a smile on his face. He kept it light and he was a good teammate. 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."
Mitch Trubisky also shared his thoughts on Haskins, who had a profound impact on him in the short time that he knew him.
"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."