Tony Siragusa, the charismatic defensive tackle that helped lead a solid Baltimore defense to a Super Bowl title, has died. He was 55.
The Baltimore Ravens, for which Siragusa played five seasons, said Siragusa died “unexpectedly” Wednesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately stated.
“This is a really sad day,” Siragusa’s broadcasting agent Jim Ornstein told the Associated Press. “Tony was much more than my client, he was family. My heart goes out to Tony’s loved ones.”
Siragusa, known as “the Goose”, played seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and five with the Ravens. Baltimore’s 2000 team won the Super Bowl behind a defense that included Siragusa, Ray Lewis and Sam Adams.
“This is a tough one. I love Goose as a brother,” Lewis said in a statement on Wednesday, adding: “He was a unique person who made you feel important and special. You can never replace a man like that. . “
Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted: “The Goose squeezed 200 fun years into 55 !! He was one of the most physically strong players I’ve ever seen in 50 years. In Greece, they would ask one question at the end of one’s life; Had he passion? In Tony’s case..Yes he did !! “
Siragusa was popular with fans because of his fun personality, which also helped him quickly move on to broadcasting after his playing career.
Siragusa came to Baltimore as a free agent in 1997 and teamed up with Adams to form an impressive defensive tackle. In the Ravens’ 2000 championship season, Siragusa was 6 feet 3 and 340 pounds sixth among Baltimore defenders with 75 tackles.
“It was an honor and a privilege to stand next to Tony Siragusa,” Adams said in a statement following the news of Siragusa’s death. “He made the game fun and was a true competitor. Our D-line room was special on and off the court. May he be calm, and may God bless and keep his family.”
Siragusa ended his career with 22 sacks.
The news of Siragusa’s death came on what was already a tragic day for the ravens. Thea linebacker for Baltimore, at the age of 26 was announced earlier in the day.
“This is an incredibly sad day for the Baltimore Ravens,” said owner Steve Bisciotti. “We appreciate everyone who has expressed a stream of support to our players, coaches and staff.”
Siragusa was a star football player and wrestler at David Brearley High School in New Jersey. He then played collegiately in Pittsburgh, where he had a reputation for being wise well before his NFL career.
“If I wanted to learn a school song, I would have gone to Notre Dame or Penn State,” he once said. “I want to kill people on the football field. That’s why I came to Pitt.”
Siragusa went undrafted before signing with Indianapolis, but he proved to be a championship-winning force in the NFL. Then he took his personality to the airwaves, working for Fox’s NFL coverage.
“His incomparable passion for football established him as one of the most charismatic personalities to ever set foot on the grid or in front of a camera,” Fox Sports said in a statement. “Goose was a natural ability to relate the sport and its players to fans everywhere.”
Siragusa also had a role on HBO’s “The Sopranos” and hosted shows on the Discovery Channel and DIY Network.
“Tony was really bigger than life, on and off the field,” said Pat Narduzzi, Pitt’s current football coach. “He played the game passionately and relentlessly. Despite not being drafted, he thrived in the NFL for 12 years. His life after football took him so many places, but he never forgot Pitt. We could always count on him to send it. best registered pep talk to our guys before our biggest fights. “