Pittsburgh Steelers backup quarterback and former Ohio State standout Dwayne Haskins, 24, died Saturday, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin confirmed in a statement. Haskins’ agent, Cedric Saunders, told ESPN he died after being hit by a vehicle on a Florida highway.
“I am devastated and at a loss for words with 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 even more so a great friend to so many people. I am truly heartbroken.
Haskins was a 2019 Washington Commanders first-round pick, selected 15th overall, after throwing for 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns in his only year as a starter at Ohio State. In 2018, he finished third in Heisman Trophy voting, behind Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray, after leading Ohio State to a 13-1 record, including a win. in the Rose Bowl against Washington. He completed 70% of his passes that season and, at 6-foot-3, was expected to have a future in the NFL for his accuracy as a pocket passer.
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 due to his performance, and for multiple violations of Covid-19 protocols.
“He was a young man with enormous potential who had an infectious personality,” Commanders co-owners Daniel and Tanya Snyder said in a statement.
The Steelers signed Haskins in January 2021 as a backup, but he didn’t play the following season. In March, the Steelers re-signed him as a restricted free agent, and Haskins was expected to compete for the starting job with Mason Rudolf and Mitchell Trubisky in training camp. Haskins was in Florida this week training with his teammates.