I Feel Like I Failed Him: Claypool’s Manhunt Opens Up About the Grief of Dwayne Haskins’ Death

Dwayne Haskins’ death hit the football world hard. But for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it also hit close to home. Chase Claypool was one of the last people to see Haskins and this fact made grieving his death all the more difficult. Claypool I opened up about it in the I’m an Athlete podcast, Join Brandon Marshall, Buckman Jones, and Marshawn Lynch to talk about Haskins’ life and untimely death.

“I feel like I’ve let him down,” Claypool told Young. “I feel like I could have changed the score which is why it was so heavy. I was close. I was a minute away from basically stopping him. From changing the score.”

Claypool, Haskins and his Steelers teammates have joined Mitch Trubesky at his Florida home to coach the offseason. For Trubesky, this was an opportunity to get acquainted with his new guards. Although signing Trubisky could threaten Haskins’ place on the roster, he still accepted the offer to coach and improve. Haskins was killed on his way to the airport after his car ran out of fuel, prompting Haskins to try to cross the highway. He was hit by a dump truck and killed. Haskins was only 24 years old.

“I think of him every day. I’ve known him for a little over a year. It’s obviously a cliché, you never know how much someone means to you until he’s gone. But being with him in his last moments is like seeing who he was as a person, just as in its purest form, It’s tough when you’re there.”

Shortly after his death, Claypool posted an emotional video of himself on Haskins, showing a vulnerable side of athletes that the public doesn’t usually see.

During the broadcast, he spoke briefly about why he decided to publish the video.

“I know this video is going to come out. People are going to cheat on me. But if I can help one person through a tragedy, maybe save one life or get someone to connect with me and I can just have a conversation with them, I’m great.”

Claypool said he was also excited to release the video after the personal tragedy he had dealt with. His younger sister Ashley died when Claypool was a teenager and he has a letter tattooed on his arm to remember, which he concluded with the words “until we meet again.”

Pittsburgh did its best to honor Haskins with Great turnout for a memorial service held after his death. The Steelers have dealt with a lot of tragedies in recent years. Tunch Ilkin loses his battle with ALS, Darryl Drake’s death in 2019, Stephon Tuitt’s brother killed in a hit-and-run accident last summer, and Ryan Shazier’s life-threatening spinal injury that ended his football career. It’s a heavyweight to carry and coach Mike Tomlin was there the whole time. Claypool relayed the message Tomlin sent after Haskins’ death.

“I think the most important thing for the coach is that he didn’t talk about football at all. At the end of the day, it’s not really about football, is it? It’s about your brothers and your family and the people you love. He just said he doesn’t take anything for granted. Especially when it comes to life.”

Tomlin has been and will continue to be a figurehead on the team, especially in a casual season that has seen a lot of change. If there’s a coach to lead a team through tough moments, and 2022 will be a challenge for a host of reasons, it’s Tomlin.

Future actions will speak more than just words, but Claypool appears to be more mature than he was a year ago. That growth has gone through unimaginably tough conditions, but Claypool has consistently cited him as a better and more vocal captain this season. The Pittsburgh crime scene can use all the help they can get in this section. And a more mature Claypool could improve his playing on the court. On a personal level, 2022 is a big year for him.

Check out the entire conversation, which covers a variety of topics, below.