Tony Siragusa, the Super Bowl-winning defensive tackle and football television analyst for Fox Sports, died on Wednesday, owners of the Indianapolis Colts and the Baltimore Ravens said. He was 55 years old.
Jim Irsay, the Colts’ owner, confirmed Siragusa’s death on Twitter. The reason for death has not yet been announced.
Siragusa, nicknamed Goose, played within the N.F.L. for 12 seasons, seven of them for the Colts, who acquired him as an undrafted free agent in 1990. He joined the Baltimore Ravens in 1997 and retired after the 2001 season, one yr after playing a key defensive role because the franchise won its first Super Bowl.
“Renee and I are stunned and heartbroken to learn concerning the sudden passing of Tony Siragusa,” Steve Bisciotti, the Ravens’ owner, said in a press release. “He was a special person and clearly one of the crucial popular players in Ravens history. Tony’s larger-than-life personality made an infinite impact on our organization and throughout the Baltimore community.”
Irsay said on Twitter that Siragusa was fun-loving and “one of the crucial physically strongest players I even have seen in 50 years.”
Siragusa, known for his imposing heft at 330 kilos during his playing days, was a key member of the Ravens’ championship team within the 2000 season. While that season was certainly one of his worst statistically — he recorded only 27 tackles with none sacks — he contributed to certainly one of the N.F.L.’s most fearsome defenses, absorbing blockers to permit the star linebacker Ray Lewis, defensive back Rod Woodson, lineman Sam Adams and others to reach their roles. That unit set N.F.L. records for the fewest points allowed (165) and rushing yards allowed (970) in a 16-game regular season.
“On the sphere, he was the last word competitor who brought out the perfect in all of us,” Lewis said in a press release.
Siragusa, who was born in Recent Jersey, won a wrestling state championship while attending Brearley High School in Kenilworth, where he also played line of defense for the football team. He was also its punter and kicker.
He played collegiate football at Pittsburgh after which signed with the Colts as a free agent, occurring to start out 78 games over seven seasons.
Through the A.F.C. championship game for the 2000 season, Siragusa evaded several blockers early within the second quarter and narrowly missed sacking Raiders quarterback Wealthy Gannon, who had just thrown the ball before he arrived. But Siragusa hit Gannon hard and landed along with his full body weight on the quarterback, injuring Gannon’s left collar bone. Siragusa was later fined, but Gannon’s injury helped the Ravens win, 16-3, en path to a Super Bowl victory over the Giants.
“There was nobody like Goose — a warrior on the sphere and a team unifier with a giving, generous heart who helped teammates and the community greater than most individuals know,” Brian Billick, who coached the Ravens from 1998 to 2007, said in a press release. “We might not have won the Super Bowl without him.”
Siragusa worked as a Fox Sports broadcaster from 2003-15. He’s survived by his wife, Kathy, and their three children: Samantha, Ava and Anthony Jr.