Tony Siragusa, the NFL defensive tackle who has become 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.
Affectionately known as the “Goose,” Siragusa was a vital cog in the midst of the historic 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense, which led to the franchise’s first Super Bowl title that same season. He began his 12-year career by drinking his $ 1,000 signing bonus as an undrafted free agent and left the game as one of his 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 team unifier with a generous and generous heart who has helped teammates and the community more than most people know,” the former said. coach of the Ravens Brian Billick. “We wouldn’t have won the Super Bowl without him. This is such stunning and sad news, and our hearts go out to Kathy and the Siragusa family.”
The Goose squeezed 200 fun-loving years into 55 !! He was one of the physically strongest players he has ever seen in 50 years💪🏼🏈 In Greece, at the end of their life they asked 1 question; Did he have passion? In Tony’s case … yes, he did it !! 💪🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼❤️
– Jim Irsay (@JimIrsay) June 22, 2022
Known as a blue collar worker, Siragusa appreciated that his greatest moment came with a quarterback jab. In the 2000 AFC championship game, Siragusa knocked out Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon, leading the All-Pro onto the turf and 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 took every pound of my fat ass on him.”
As much as Siragusa enjoyed the spotlight off the pitch, he felt comfortable doing the dirty work for one of the NFL’s major 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 double teams to allow center linebacker Ray Lewis to roam freely and helped Baltimore set championship records for the fewest points (165) and yard runs. (970) in a 16-game season.
“This is tough,” Lewis said. “I love Goose like 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 feel important and special. You can’t. never replace a man like that. “
Kicker Matt Stover said: “I truly believe Super Bowl XXXV team would never have been this good without Tony. Not only did he plug the center, but his presence in the locker room created a loose environment when things were tough. We will miss him, but he will not be forgotten. “
Teammates will remember Siragusa for his infamous practical jokes.
There was a time when some of the younger players made a large cup of cocoa in the training room and Siragusa saw the opportunity to fill it with laxative before training. Siragusa laughed as the players rushed off the pitch.
“They say there’s a person like you everywhere, but I believe God created a goose with that personality,” said former Ravens defensive tackle Larry Webster.
In the first “Hard Knocks”, Siragusa made one of the best moments when he barricaded the tight ends in their meeting room with a table. Sharpe said he wanted “restitution” and stole Siragusa’s truck to get an apology.
Siragusa’s commitment to his team was evident in 2000, when he was blocked, fell to the ground and could not feel part of his body. His mother ran down from the stands and his older brothers ran into the locker room where a golf cart had moved the immobile big man.
“From my head down, I couldn’t move,” Siragusa recalled later. “It was the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me in my life.”
Medical staff told Siragusa she had to at least undergo an MRI scan to make sure there was no damage to her spine. He had a bruised spine and was advised not to go back. But he didn’t take that advice.
Siragusa said: “[Defensive line] Coach Rex Ryan came up to me and said, ‘You have a family. Don’t go back out there.’ I said, ‘You are my family too. I have to do this.’ “
After his retirement, Siragusa was a sideline analyst for Fox Sports from 2003 to 2015. He also had a few acting roles, appearing in “The Sopranos” and Spike Lee’s “25th Hour”.
“This is a very sad day,” Siragusa TV agent Jim Ornstein told The Associated Press. “Tony was more than my client, he was family. My heart goes out to Tony’s loved ones.”
Siragusa’s death continued on a sad 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 tremendously sad day for the Baltimore Ravens,” said Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti. “We appreciate everyone who has expressed a wave of support for our players, coaches and staff.”