By Jerraud Powers
In 2013 , I signed a three-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. During those three years, I met some of the “realest” coaches I have ever been around. Everyone on staff, except one guy had played in the league, so they understood what players went through on a daily basis. They coached differently, and they treated us with the respect that you hoped for as a player. Coach Drake was the wide receiver coach. Arguably the most genuine, funny guy you could ever meet.
Every training camp and week throughout the season, Coach Drake would look at me and get my attention and say “Aight now Powers, I’m watching you.” One day he pulled me to the side to tell me why he told me that every week. He said, “I notice how much you work and how serious you take this game. You don’t get the credit you deserve and shit, you should.” Now, Coach Drake didn’t have to say a word to me, he coached on the opposite side of the ball. He didn’t have to pull me to the side to let me know he was in my corner and had my back. He didn’t have to encourage his players every day with a “word of the day” or prayer after every practice. But that’s who Coach Drake was.
I was walking to meetings in Tampa, when Bruce Arians pulled me to the side to tell me coach Drake had passed. Everybody on the Tampa staff knows Drake personally and you could see the energy sucked out of the building. We just played the Steelers last Friday and laughed with Drake for almost two hours before the game. His energy is impactful. His soulful spirit takes over when he’s in your presence. He mentioned how happy he was to see everyone and even sat on our sideline as if he was still on staff. His last words to me were “I love you brother and call me if you need anything.” We all will miss you Coach. Rest In Heaven, Love you Coach!