Tony Siragusa, the NFL defensive deal with who grew to become one of many recreation’s largest gamers and personalities, died Wednesday on the age of 55.
The reason for Siragusa’s demise was not instantly obtainable.
Affectionately often called “Goose,” Siragusa served as an important cog in the course of the Baltimore Ravens’ historic 2000 protection, which spearheaded the franchise’s first Tremendous Bowl title that very same season. He began his 12-year profession by ingesting away his $ 1,000 signing bonus as an undrafted free agent and left the sport as certainly one of his distinctive personalities who was recognized for his irreverent humorousness and memorable pranks.
“There was nobody like Goose – a warrior on the sphere and a group unifier with a giving, beneficiant coronary heart who helped teammates and the neighborhood greater than most individuals know,” former Ravens coach Brian Billick stated. “We would not have gained the Tremendous Bowl with out him. That is such beautiful, unhappy information, and our hearts exit to Kathy and the Siragusa household.”
Earlier than becoming a member of the Ravens as a free agent in 1997, Siragusa spent the primary seven seasons of his profession with the Indianapolis Colts. Colts proprietor Jim Irsay tweeted that he was “coronary heart damaged as is all of Colts Nation.” Irsay added in a follow-up tweet that, “The Goose squeezed 200 enjoyable loving years into 55 !!”
The Goose squeezed 200 enjoyable loving years into 55 !! He was some of the bodily strongest gamers I’ve ever seen in 50 years💪🏼🏈 In Greece, they’d ask 1 query on the finish of 1’s life; Did He Have Ardour? In Tony’s case..Sure He Did !! 💪🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️
– Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) June 22, 2022
Often known as a blue-collar run-stuffer, Siragusa loved his largest second on a quarterback hit. Within the 2000 AFC Championship Sport, Siragusa took out Oakland Raiders quarterback Wealthy Gannon, driving the All-Professional into the turf and separating his left shoulder. The Ravens went on to beat the Raiders 16-3 to advance to the Tremendous Bowl.
“I noticed Wealthy’s eyes roll again,” Siragusa stated on the time. “He bought each pound of my fats ass on him.”
As a lot as Siragusa relished the highlight off the sphere, he was snug with doing the soiled work for one of many NFL’s premier defenses, although it led to numerous knee surgical procedures and no Professional Bowl invites. A 6-foot-3, 340-pound wall within the center, Siragusa occupied double groups to permit center linebacker Ray Lewis to roam freely and helped Baltimore set league data for the fewest factors (165) and speeding yards (970) in a 16 -game season.
“It is a powerful one,” Lewis stated. “I really like Goose like a brother. From the primary day we met, I knew that life was completely different. I knew he was somebody who would change my life perpetually. He was a one-of-a-kind one who made you’re feeling vital. and particular. You possibly can by no means change a person like that. “
Stated kicker Matt Stover: “I actually imagine that the Tremendous Bowl XXXV group would have by no means been pretty much as good because it was with out Tony. He not solely plugged up the center, however his locker room presence created a unfastened setting when issues had been tight. He might be missed, however not forgotten. “
Teammates will keep in mind Siragusa for his infamous sensible jokes.
There was a time when a few of the youthful gamers made a giant pot of cocoa within the coaching room and Siragusa noticed a chance to spike it with laxative earlier than apply. Siragusa laughed as gamers rushed off the sphere.
“They are saying there’s an individual such as you in all places, however I imagine God made one goose with that character,” former Ravens defensive deal with Larry Webster stated.
Within the first “Onerous Knocks,” Siragusa delivered one of many high moments when he barricaded the tight ends of their assembly room with a desk. Tight finish Shannon Sharpe famously declared he wished “restitution,” and he stole Siragusa’s truck in an effort to get an apology.
Siragusa’s dedication to his group was obvious in 2000, when he was blocked, fell to the bottom and couldn’t really feel a part of his physique. His mom got here working down from the stands and his older brothers sprinted to the locker room the place a golf cart had moved the immobile huge man.
“From my head down, I could not transfer,” Siragusa recalled later. “It was the scariest factor that is occurred to me in my life.”
The medical workers advised Siragusa he needed to a minimum of have an MRI to verify there wasn’t spinal harm. He had a bruised backbone, and he was suggested not to return. However he did not heed that recommendation.
Stated Siragusa: “[Defensive line] coach Rex Ryan got here as much as me and stated ‘You’ve bought a household. Do not return on the market. ‘ I stated, ‘You are my household, too. I’ve bought to do that. ‘”
Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, stated Wednesday that, “Tony was the most effective folks I ever met” and that “it was unattainable to have a nasty day round him.”
After his retirement, Siragusa was a sideline analyst for Fox Sports activities from 2003 till 2015. He additionally had some performing roles, showing in “The Sopranos” and Spike Lee’s film, “twenty fifth Hour.”
“It is a actually unhappy day,” Siragusa’s broadcast agent Jim Ornstein advised The Related Press. “Tony was far more than my shopper, he was household. My coronary heart goes out to Tony’s family members. ”
Siragusa’s demise continued a somber day for the Ravens, who introduced the demise of outdoor linebacker Jaylon Ferguson earlier within the day. He was 26 years previous.
“It is a tremendously unhappy day for the Baltimore Ravens,” Ravens proprietor Steve Bisciotti stated. “We admire everybody who has expressed an outpouring of help for our gamers, coaches and workers.”