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Dwayne Haskins was loved by the Steelers community of Ohio

I hope Dwayne Haskins knows how much loved he was. How happy he is just to see his bright smile that made the people who saw it. How the children of Pittsburgh were likely deeply affected by one of the beloved Steelers saying he was also concerned.

I hope he knows it was so much more than his talents, from his career, from football.

Based on some stories that have emerged since Haskins’ death on Saturday, it appears that the last part was true. Haskins was human first and foremost, a kind young man who gave his time freely to charitable events, an introvert who made a name for himself playing in the center where the lights shined, someone who insisted on Embrace a reporter and pray for her When she was weeping over her grandmother’s recent death and trying to do so inconspicuously, far from her crowded locker room.

He talked about his personal growth, the kind we all experience after we leave college, that time when we think we know everything and have figured out everything only to realize very quickly that we sure as hell don’t know. Haskins was going through that period in the public eye, with a heft and expectation that it was a first-round pick, our culture is so obsessed with the draft and the ratings – as if any of them were predicting anything – and somewhat blinded by the fact that Haskins’ football career is an extraordinary achievement in itself.

We may be unable to see athletes as anything more than merchandise or transactions, rather than children who may be confused, frightened, or homesick. Or maybe all of the above, and being too nervous to tell anyone that he feels like he’s fumbling a little, on the field, off the field, and it’s starting to snowball. And that if no one steps in to help, he may not be able to play, he may not start, and he may forget about it Just access to the damn NFL It is something very little can say about them, and that there are people who love them for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with football.

I hope Dwayne Haskins knows how much loved he was.

Dwayne Haskins had so much more than the headlines he made. Just listen to his coaches and teammates in the aftermath of his death. (Bob Donan/USA TODAY Sports)

I hope his family and friends took a little comfort from the beautiful posthumous statements and tweets that Haskins himself had heard in life. coaches And colleagues Say what a wonderful person he was. What is the price They had affection for him. how are they Rate his friendship. How impressed they were with his work ethic.

Because they didn’t assume they had plenty of time to tell him in the future, and they told him some random Tuesday, they got over any embarrassment they might have felt, and just told him.

Others have forgotten all of it, and the results have been horrific. In the race to be the first to break the news for a few seconds, in pursuit of feeding the content monster, in keeping with the way players have long been seen as something other than humans, these folks have distilled everything about Dwayne Haskins in the moments after his death down to their belief that he was Disappointment in professional footballBecause he didn’t do things the way they do, he must be distinguished in a disgusting way.

If you saw Haskins and the other men in the NFL as human beings first, you wouldn’t have to apologize for painting them as anything less.

Tragically, so much of the discussion was over the rude tweets and the so-called shocking “analysis” rather than the young man—son, husband, brother, colleague, friend—who was working to be the best version of himself, that bright smile at the ready.

Haskins may have been a quarterback again someday, and he probably won’t. It shouldn’t really matter. The kids at Fulton Elementary School a few minutes from the Steelers training facility didn’t care last month that Haskins wasn’t the team’s star quarterback. It was Stiller, period. He took the time to read to them and answer their questions, and returned the hug of those who threw his arms around him.

Family, team, multiple communities – they all lost a man who was kind, caring and working towards his dream, by many accounts.

I hope Dwayne Haskins knows how much loved he was.

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