Teammates, coaches mourn Haskins on duty

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PITTSBURGH – Surrounded by more than 100 members of Dwayne Haskins’ family, friends and former teammates and coaches who hugged yellow single-stemmed roses, Kalabrya Haskins helped release a trio of white doves over her husband’s coffin while gospel music played.

The Pittsburgh Steelers honored the former quarterback’s life at a worship service at Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh Friday morning. The morning fog of the last few days and eerily cold and cloudy weather lifted in time for a bright and sunny spring setting for Haskins’ service.

The church altar was adorned with memorabilia honoring Haskins’ football career. Four jerseys flanked the closed coffin, one from their respective careers: Bullis School, Ohio State, Washington Commanders and Steelers. Giant arrangements of red and white roses filled the front of the church, including a giant bouquet on top of the black coffin. There was also a giant portrait of Haskins, painted by local Pittsburgh artist Cody Sabol.

Most of the current Steelers team participated in the 90-minute service, including Diontae Johnson, Mitch Trubisky and Cam Heyward. Former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer and current coach Ryan Day also attended, along with Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, general manager Kevin Colbert and team owner and president Art Rooney II.

Tomlin was one of six speakers sharing memories and stories about Haskins, along with two of Haskins ‘friends – Mohamed Jabbie and Mykel Traylor-Bennett – agent and friend Cedric Saunders, wide receiver Steven Sims and Haskins’ wife.

Haskins’ parents did not attend the service in Pittsburgh and will instead host public memorial services in New Jersey and Maryland this weekend.

“We never met or talked to the wife, and we did not want our son’s funeral to be the place we met her for the first time,” Haskins’ parents said in a statement released by a family spokeswoman.

After the service ended, Haskins’ coffin was carried by six pallet bearers including Traylor-Bennett and Jabbie.

While Whitney Houston’s “Exhale” was playing, Kalabrya Haskins came out of the church and went down the stairs to meet the coffin resting in front of the silver linen.

Sobbing, she draped herself over the coffin. She was comforted by friends and family while one of the worship leaders offered a prayer and a rejection for her husband.

Then he brought out the white doves and offered Haskins’ loved ones a chance to touch the birds before setting them free.

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