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Darrelle Revis mourns former HS football player from hometown

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- This has been a difficult season for Darrelle Revis, whose struggles have been well-documented, but sometimes football isn't the most important thing. On Tuesday, Revis received sad news from his hometown of Aliquippa, Pennsylvania.

DiMantae Bronaugh, 19, a former standout running back at Aliquippa High School, died Tuesday after battling leukemia for more than a year. On Wednesday, Revis shared his emotions on Instagram.

Bronaugh wore No. 24 in high school (Revis' number with the Jets) and was buried in his football jersey, although it's unclear if he wore 24 as a tribute to the star cornerback, an Aliquippa legend who still has close ties to the community.

On Thursday, Revis began his session with reporters by expressing condolences to the Bronaugh family. Bronaugh attended Revis' youth football camp in Aliquippa and was part of a contingent of campers Revis sent to Florida to participate in a camp run by Drew Brees.

Bronaugh's passing created an outpouring of sympathy in Western Pennsylvania. Members of the Pittsburgh Steelers, including coach Mike Tomlin, tweeted their condolences.

Bronaugh was diagnosed before the 2015 season and he sat out the year as he underwent treatments. The community rallied around him, holding fundraisers and hosting bone-marrow drives. Spearheaded by DKMS, an organization devoted to fighting various forms of blood cancer, they searched for a bone-marrow match. The organization's hope is that Bronaugh's legacy will raise awareness in the future. Only seven percent of the bone-marrow registry is comprised of African Americans, according to DKMS.

Over the summer, Bronaugh's condition improved and he rejoined his teammates for conditioning workouts. Hope faded when subsequent tests revealed he no longer was in remission.

"This is not a football story, this is a human story," Aliquippa coach Mike Zmijanac said by phone. "A young man lost his life to a terrible disease. His impact on our community is two-fold: We'll remember his courage and determination."

Zmijanac said Bronaugh fought through grueling workouts in July, never complaining even though he occasionally became too ill to participate.

"He'd get back in line and say, 'I'm good, coach,'" Zmijanac said.

Zmijanac, who coached Revis in high school 15 years ago, and Revis' name -- along with other former Aliquippa greats -- is "still magical in our community." This hasn't been a magical season for Revis, 31, whose play has regressed. But, as noted, football isn't everything.