We learned only after his passing just what sort of global role Darryl Drake played in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization, with multiple players crediting the wide receivers coach for helping to keep the team together at the end of the 2018 season amid mounting drama that spilled into the offseason.
It was one of his slogans, ‘Shut Out the Noise’, that became a rallying point, and while it applied primarily to his position group—he stuck a sign up on the wall bearing the message—it was one that permeated throughout the team as well.
According to Jacob Klinger, it was Donte Moncrief who took the initiative to seek the blessing to print out shirts bearing the message, and then to actually have them printed for the wide receivers. Tevin Jones said that a few others players outside of the wide receiver room have a shirt, as well.
Jones also said that ‘shut out the noise’ was among the parting words that Drake left them with concluding their Saturday night position meeting, just before he passed Sunday morning in his bed at Saint Vincent College. So, in effect, it’s likely the last thing many of them heard him say.
And it should be one of the messages that continues to reverberate throughout the locker room all season. There has been an awful lot of noise surrounding the Steelers throughout the 2019 calendar year, even going back to the playoffs. They were the most-discussed team of the postseason, in spite of the fact that they did not qualify, due to a whole lot of ‘noise’, much of which has found new homes both east and west of Pittsburgh.
Shut out the noise wasn’t the only thing Drake was known to say. James Washington shared another message from the late wide receivers coach: Don’t Settle for Good When Great Is Available. Washington has been among those doing to make to strive for greatness this preseason, putting up a pair of solid games to start things off as he looks to mount a strong campaign in his second season.
As of yet, the Steelers do not have finalized plan for how they will approach the wide receiver position for the long haul. Visiting former coach Ray Shermer has been running the players through drills with the help of Blaine Stewart, a coaching assistant, and former defensive back William Gay, who has been in with the team this offseason as a coaching intern.
They will find somebody to replace his coaching duties, but they won’t ever replace the man and all of the extracurricular attributes that he brought to the team, many of which were unknown to the outside until those on the inside divulged that information after his death.
His instruction will live on this season, however, through his players, and that includes this universal message: Shut Out the Noise.