Dwayne Haskins, 24, the backup Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback and a former standout at Ohio State, died Saturday, Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin confirmed in a statement. Haskins agent, Cedric Saunders, told ESPN that he died after a being struck 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 tremendous friend to so many. I am truly heartbroken.”
Haskins was a first-round draft pick of the Washington Commanders in 2019, selected at No. 15 overall, after he threw 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.
But Haskins struggled in his first two N.F.L. seasons, winning three of his 13 starts in Washington while throwing 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions, before being benched in favor of Alex Smith. The The Commanders released him before the end of the 2020 season because of his performance and for multiple violations of Covid-19 protocols.
“He was a young man with a tremendous amount of potential who had an infectious personality,” Daniel and Tanya Snyder, the Commanders’ co-owners, said in a statement.
The Steelers signed Haskins in January 2021 as a backup, but he did not 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 teammates.