The sports world suffered a tragic loss Saturday morning when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Dwayne Haskins was killed in Florida.

The Florida Highway Patrol says the 24-year-old was attempting to cross the Broward County stretch of I-595 on foot when he was hit by a dump truck. Haskins was pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation is ongoing, but it remains unknown why Haskins was on the highway.

Dwayne Haskins was born and raised in Highland Park, NJ, before moving to Maryland in high school. He grew up a diehard New York Giants fan. One of his biggest mentors was another New Jersey native, veteran NFL wide receiver and Rutgers alum Mohamed Sanu.

As a kid Haskins adopted the nickname Simba, from the 1994 Disney film “The Lion King." The nickname originally stuck due to his hair, which reminded his mother of a lion's mane. But as he came into his own as a standout athlete, Haskins channeled the movie's coming-of-age story as motivation.

Haskins was drafted by the Washington Commanders in the first round of the 2019 NFL Draft, 15th overall. He earned the honor after a prolific college career at Ohio State.

During his sophomore campaign, his lone starting season as QB of The Buckeyes, Haskins threw for over 4,000 passing yards and 50 passing touchdowns. That year he led his team to the Big Ten championship.

Big Ten Championship Football
Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) and Tuf Borland (32) celebrate after winning the Big Ten championship / AP

In the NFL, Haskins spent two seasons in D.C., before signing with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2021.

Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin saying of Haskins' passing:

I am devastated and at a loss for words with the unfortunate passing of Dwayne Haskins. He quickly became part of our Steelers family upong 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 heart broken. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Kalabrya, and his entire family during this difficult time.

Haskins' mentor, Mohamed Sanu, taking to Twitter to pay tribute to his friend:

Sanu's connection with Haskins was known around the league, with star Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson expressing his condolences to the wide receiver:

Dwayne Haskins would have turned 25 years old on May 3.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 producer, writer, and host Joe Votruba. Any opinions expressed are his own.

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