PITTSBURGH — Surrounded by more than 100 members of Dwayne Haskins’ family, friends and former teammates and coaches clutching single-stem yellow roses, Kalabrya Haskins helped release a trio of white doves over her husband’s casket while gospel music played.
The Pittsburgh Steelers honored the life of the former quarterback in a service at Allegheny Center Alliance Church in Pittsburgh on Friday morning. The morning fog and unseasonably cold and overcast weather of the last few days lifted in time for a bright and sunny spring setting for Haskins’ service.
The altar of the church was adorned in memorabilia honoring Haskins’ football career. Four jerseys flanked the closed casket, one each from the stops of his career: the Bullis School, Ohio State, the Washington Commanders and the Steelers. Giant arrangements of red and white roses filled the front of the church, including a giant bouquet on top of the black casket.
Most of the current Steelers team attended 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 who shared memories and stories of 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 have never met or spoken to the wife, and we didn’t want our son’s funeral service 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 concluded, Haskins’ casket was carried out by six pallbearers including Traylor-Bennett and Jabbie.
As Whitney Houston’s “Exhale” played, Kalabrya Haskins emerged from the church and walked down the stairs to meet the casket resting in front of the silver hearse.
Sobbing, she draped herself over the casket. She was consoled by friends and family while one of the worship leaders offered a prayer and a send-off 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.