Ex-NFL DT Tony Siragusa, ‘the Goose,’ dies at age 55

Tony Siragusa, the NFL defensive sort out who grew to become one of many sport’s greatest gamers and personalities, died Wednesday on the age of 55.

The reason for Siragusa’s dying was not instantly obtainable.

Affectionately often called “Goose,” Siragusa served as a significant 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 considered one of its distinctive personalities who was identified for his irreverent humorousness and memorable pranks.

“There was nobody like Goose – a warrior on the sphere and a crew unifier with a giving, beneficiant coronary heart who helped teammates and the neighborhood greater than most individuals know,” former Ravens coach Brian Billick mentioned. “We would not have gained the Tremendous Bowl with out him. That is such gorgeous, 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 the Colts Nation.” Irsay added in a follow-up tweet that, “The Goose squeezed 200 enjoyable loving years into 55 !!”

Generally known as a blue-collar run-stuffer, Siragusa loved that his greatest second got here on a quarterback hit. Within the 2000 AFC Championship Recreation, 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 mentioned on the time. “He bought each pound of my fats ass on him.”

As a lot as Siragusa realized the highlight off the sphere, he was comfy with doing the soiled work for one of many NFL’s premier defenses, though 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 information for the fewest factors (165) and speeding yards (970) in a 16 -game season.

“This can be a powerful one,” Lewis mentioned. “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 endlessly. He was a one-of-a-kind one that made you are feeling necessary and particular. You’ll be able to by no means substitute a person like that. “

Stated kicker Matt Stover: “I really imagine that the Tremendous Bowl XXXV crew would have by no means been nearly 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 have been tight. He will probably be missed, however not forgotten. “

Teammates will keep in mind Siragusa for his infamous sensible jokes.

There was a time when a number of the youthful gamers made a giant pot of cocoa within the coaching room and Siragusa noticed a possibility to spike it with laxatives 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 persona,” former Ravens defensive sort out Larry Webster mentioned.

Within the first “Arduous Knocks,” Siragusa delivered one of many prime moments when he barricaded the tight ends of their assembly room with a desk. Sharpe famously declared he needed “restitution,” and he stole Siragusa’s truck as a way to get an apology.

Siragusa’s dedication to his crew 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 operating down from the stands and his older brothers sprinted to the locker room the place a golf cart had moved the immobile large 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 employees informed Siragusa he needed to at the least have an MRI to verify there was no spinal injury. 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 mentioned โ€˜Youโ€™ve bought a household. Do not return on the market. ‘ I mentioned, ‘You are my household, too. I’ve bought to do that. ‘ “

Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, mentioned Wednesday that, “Tony was the most effective folks I ever met” and that “it was unattainable to have a foul day round him.”

After his retirement, Siragusa was a sideline analyst for Fox Sports activities from 2003 till 2015. He additionally had some appearing roles, showing in “The Sopranos” and Spike Lee’s film, “twenty fifth Hour.”

“This can be a actually unhappy day, ” Siragusa’s broadcast agent, Jim Ornstein, informed The Related Press.” Tony was far more than my consumer, he was household. My coronary heart goes out to Tony’s family members. ”

Siragusa’s dying continued a tragic day for the Ravens, which introduced the dying of outdoor linebacker Jaylon Ferguson earlier within the day. He was 26 years outdated.

“This can be a tremendously unhappy day for the Baltimore Ravens,” Ravens proprietor Steve Bisciotti mentioned. “We admire everybody who has expressed an outpouring of assist for our gamers, coaches and employees.”

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