The former NFL DT Siragusa, the ‘goose’, dies at the age of 55

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Tony Siragusa, the defensive tackle from the NFL who became one of the game’s greatest players and personalities, died Wednesday at the age of 55.

The cause of Siragusa’s death was not immediately available.

Siragusa, affectionately known as “Goose”, served as an important cog in the middle of the Baltimore Ravens’ historic 2000 defense, which spearheaded the franchise’s first Super Bowl title that season. He started his 12-year career by drinking away his $ 1,000 signature bonus as an unsurpassed free agent, leaving the game as one of its unique personalities known for his irreverent sense of humor and memorable pranks.

“There was no one like Goose – a warrior on the field and a teammate with a generous, generous heart who helped teammates and the community more than most people know,” said former Ravens coach Brian Billick. “We would not have won the Super Bowl without him. This is great, sad news and our hearts go out to Kathy and the Siragusa family.”

Before joining the Ravens as a free agent in 1997, Siragusa spent the first seven seasons of his career with the Indianapolis Colts. Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that he was “shattered like the entire Colts Nation.” irsay added in a follow-up tweet that, “The goose pushed 200 happy years into 55 !!”

Siragusa, known as a blue-collar runner, enjoyed his biggest moment on a quarterback hit. In the 2000 AFC Championship game, Siragusa took Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon out and drove the All-Pro onto the turf, separating his left shoulder. The Ravens went on to beat the Raiders 16-3 to advance to the Super Bowl.

“I saw Rich’s eyes roll back,” Siragusa said at the time. “He got every pound of my fat ass on him.”

As much as Siragusa enjoyed the spotlight off the field, he was comfortable doing the dirty work for one of the NFL’s leading defenses, even though it led to countless knee surgeries and no Pro Bowl invitations. A 6-foot-3, 340-pound wall in the middle, Siragusa occupied doubles to allow center-back Ray Lewis to roam free and helped Baltimore set league records for the fewest points (165) and rushing yards (970) in a 16th game season.

“This is a tough one,” Lewis said. “I love Goose as a brother. From the first day we met, I knew life was different. I knew he was someone who would change my life forever. He was a unique person who made you to feel important. and especially. Such a man can never be replaced. “

Stated kicker Matt Stover: “I really believe the Super Bowl XXXV team would never have been as good as it was without Tony. Not only did he put in the middle, but his presence in the locker room created a loose environment when things was cramped. will be missed but not forgotten. “

Teammates will remember Siragusa for his infamous practical jokes.

There was a time when some of the younger players made a big jug of cocoa in the gym and Siragusa saw an opportunity to add it with laxative before training. Siragusa laughed as the players hurried off the field.

“They say there’s a person like you everywhere, but I think God created a goose with that personality,” said former Ravens defensive tackle Larry Webster.

In the first “Hard Knocks”, Siragusa delivered one of the best moments as he barricaded the tight ends in their meeting room with a table. Tight end Shannon Sharpe famously declared he wanted “restitution” and he stole Siragusa’s truck to get an apology.

Siragusa’s commitment to his team was evident in 2000, when he was blocked, he fell to the ground and could not feel any part of his body. His mother came running down from the stands, and his older brothers sprinted to the locker room, where a golf cart had moved the motionless big man.

“From the head down I could not move,” Siragusa later recalled. “It was the scariest thing that ever happened to me in my life.”

The medical staff told Siragusa that he should at least have an MRI scan to make sure there were no back injuries. He had a bruised spine and he was advised not to go back. But he did not follow that advice.

Siragusa said: “[Defensive line] Coach Rex Ryan came up to me and said ‘You have a family. Do not go back out there. ‘ I said, ‘You are my family too. I have to do this. “

Ryan, now an ESPN analyst, said Wednesday that “Tony was one of the best people I’ve ever met” and that “it was impossible to have a bad day around him.”

After his retirement, Siragusa was a sideline analyst for Fox Sports from 2003 to 2015. He also had some acting roles, appearing in “The Sopranos” and Spike Lee’s “25th Hour.”

“This is a really sad day,” Siragusa’s television 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’s death continued a gloomy day for the Ravens, who announced the death of outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson earlier in the day. He was 26 years old.

“This is a hugely sad day for the Baltimore Ravens,” said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. “We appreciate everyone who has expressed a stream of support to our players, coaches and staff.”

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