By Jason Hanna, Wayne Sterling and Rebekah Riess, CNN
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins died when he was struck by a dump truck Saturday morning as he tried to cross a highway on foot in South Florida, authorities said.
The former Ohio State University star and Heisman Trophy finalist was just 24.
Authorities have so far released few details about the circumstances of his death. Here’s what we know and don’t know about the fatal crash, his short-lived career and how those who knew him have reacted.
The fatal crash
Haskins was trying to cross Interstate 595’s westbound lanes, near the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Broward County, when the dump truck hit him, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
The incident was reported shortly after 6:30 a.m., the patrol said. He had been “walking on (the highway) for unknown reasons,” the patrol said in a news release.
Further details about what led up to the incident were not available.
In recent days, Haskins was in South Florida working out with some Steelers teammates, as captured in Instagram stories from Haskins and running back Najee Harris.
His short-lived football career
Haskins was poised to enter his fourth year in the NFL as a backup for the Steelers after a stellar college career.
He rose to prominence at Ohio State, where he set OSU and Big Ten Conference records as a redshirt sophomore in 2018, including single-season passing yards (4,831), touchdown passes (50) and total offensive yards (4,939). He led the Buckeyes to a 13-1 record and a win in the Rose Bowl, and he finished third in voting for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to college football’s most outstanding player.
Washington selected Haskins as the 15th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, but he didn’t live up to his lofty status. He played 16 games across two seasons for Washington, compiling a 3-10 record in 13 starts.
Haskins was released in December 2020 toward the end of his second season after he was benched in a loss and after he was fined an undisclosed amount for violating team Covid-19 protocols by going maskless at his girlfriend’s birthday party.
A month after his release, the Steelers picked him up, though he did not enter a regular-season game for Pittsburgh. He spent last season as the third-string quarterback behind the now-retired longtime Steeler Ben Roethlisberger and backup Mason Rudolph.
“I feel like I can be a starter in this league. I got drafted for that reason,” Haskins said in January, according to Steelers.com. “I definitely believe I have the talent to. I just haven’t put it all together yet. And that’s something I have to do this offseason to put myself in position to play.”
How teammates and coaches are remembering him
Teammates and coaches who knew Haskins offered their condolences and remembrances since his death.
Ohio State coach Ryan Day said Monday members of the team were hurting and announced they will honor Haskins at its spring game on Saturday.
“When you think about Dwayne you just think about the compassion he had, certainly for all of his teammates and his friends. He always took time after practice to be around family members, kids,” he said. “He meant a lot to my family and he meant a lot to this program, and he’s going to be sorely missed.
“It’s so close to Saturday morning right now. It’s still hard to kind of get our feet underneath us and see clearly right now. We all are hurting,” he added.
Steelers defensive tackle Cameron Heyward tweeted “Dwayne meant so much to so many people.”
“His smile was infectious and he was a guy you wanted to be around,” Hewyard wrote. “We are all in shock about losing him. We are going to miss the heck out of him as well. We lost you way too early. Luckily I got a chance to get to know you. RIP DH.”
Haskins’ head coach in Washington, Ron Rivera, said Saturday he was “absolutely heartbroken” to hear of his former player’s passing.
“Dwayne was a talented young man who had a long life ahead of him,” Rivera’s statement reads. “This is a very sad time and I am honestly at a loss for words. I know I speak for the rest of our team in saying he will be sorely missed.”
“I spent your final moments with you and I can’t help but think about how selfless you were in those moments. All you cared about was making sure that everyone around you was okay and I can’t thank you enough for that. You are what I strive to be,” Claypool tweeted.
Roethlisberger said on Twitter although he only knew Haskins for a short time, he knew him to be “a young man that didn’t seem to ever have a bad day.”
“He came to work everyday with a smile on his face and energy and love in his heart. I really enjoyed his passion and love for the game and wanting to learn and be the best. His smile and zeal for life will be missed!,” Roethlisberger said. “I’ll say it again just like I told you to your face, I still wish I could throw the ball like you,” he added.
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CNN’s Eric Levenson and Kikue Higuchi contributed to this report