By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
Luke Falk is wrapping up his successful week early to say his final goodbyes to a former teammate.
The former Washington State quarterback withdrew from the Senior Bowl on Friday to return to Southern California to attend the Saturday funeral for Tyler Hilinski, according to a report from the Seattle Times. By leaving, Falk will also miss playing in the Senior Bowl game, which will take place Saturday at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
Hilinski died Jan. 16 in Pullman, Washington, from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the Whitman County (Washington) Coroner.
During the week’s media availability, Falk spoke about Hilinski, his death, the resulting grief Falk experienced and called for more dialogue and understanding of mental health issues among those involved with football. The quarterback, who wore No. 4 throughout his time at Washington State, wore Hilinski’s No. 3 during Senior Bowlpractices in honor of his teammate.
“I want people to remember Tyler as an amazing person he was, his bubbly attitude, the draw he had to people and people had to him,” Falk said this week, per the Seattle Times. “I want people to start talking about suicide. I think us as men suppress our emotions and feel like we can’t express what’s really going on and how we feel. I think that we need the resources and have the trust that we can do that.”
Falk demonstrated maturity in discussing the topic and drew positive reviews from those who watched him in practice and interacted with him during the week. Washington State’s all-time wins leader will get his next chance to perform in front of scouts at the NFL Scouting Combine, which begins Feb. 27 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Hilinski’s funeral will be held at Damien High School in La Verne, California, on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. PT.