Labriola On

Tomlin opens presser with a show of support

On Thursday night, Oct. 4, Marquis Brown, a running back at Duquesne University, died in a Pittsburgh hospital after falling from a window on the 16th floor of an on-campus building. Today, Coach Mike Tomlin began his weekly news conference at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex with a show of support for those impacted by that tragedy.

"We thought organizationally that it was important that we show our support to our brothers and sisters with the Duquesne football program and at Duquesne University," said Tomlin, outfitted for the news conference in a Duquesne University T-shirt and hat. "They're dealing with the very difficult loss of a team member. We also thought it was appropriate as members of this community that we make some statement in support of them, I'm sure as others have and will continue to do, as they work through what is a difficult time."

According to reports, Brown jumped from a window at Brottier Hall, an on-campus building that housed students in apartments. Pittsburgh Police haven't said anything about what may have led up to his decision to jump, but no foul play is suspected.

"Please join me in praying for Marquis, his family, and his many friends and teammates during this time of great sadness for the entire campus community," University President Ken Gormley wrote in a letter to students. "May he rest in peace."

The Duquesne football team voted to play its game against Bryant on Saturday, Oct. 6, two days after Brown's death. The Dukes lost, 21-20.

"Our sympathies go out to them," said Tomlin, "and we pray for them as they move forward, not only dealing with what happened, but with the challenges that a season presents to a football team."

The Duquesne football team wore commemorative stickers on their helmets in 2017 as a tribute to Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, who was an alumnus of the school. Current Steelers President Art Rooney II graduated from Duquesne's Law School in 1982. The venue where the Duquesne football team plays its home games is called Rooney Field.

"L.J. Fort has an ankle injury, and we'll see what that does to his availability at the early portions of the week, and let that be our guide. Terrell Edmunds has a calf injury in a similar way. Potentially scheduled to return to practice and then that participation will be our guide in terms of game day availability are some guys who missed the last game – Vince Williams with his hamstring, Darrius Heyward-Bey with his ankle, and Morgan Burnett with his groin. All three guys ran at least in a straight line on land in some capacity last week. We'll see what they're able to do in terms of football and let that be our guide in terms of availability."

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