The American football community is in mourning after the death of former NFL star Tony Siragusa.
‘The Goose’ joined the Indianapolis Colts in 1990 after going unpicked in that year’s Draft, spending seven seasons with the franchise before moving to the Baltimore Ravens. He went on to help the Maryland outfit win their first Super Bowl in his penultimate season before retiring in 2001.
Former defensive tackle Siragusa went on to enjoy a successful career as a sideline analyst for FOX, as well as hosting several television shows and venturing into acting. He turned 55 in May, with the Pro Football Network’s Aaron Wilson reporting he died in his sleep.
“This is a tough one. I love Goose like a brother,” said Ravens legend Ray Lewis. “From the first day we met, I knew that life was different. I knew he was someone who would change my life forever.
He was a one-of-a-kind person who made you feel important and special. You can never replace a man like that. On the field, he was the ultimate competitor who brought out the best in all of us.”
Another former Ravens team-mate, Brad Jackson, said Siragusa “was the leader. “He was our captain. He meant everything to everyone. It’s a sad day. I just talked to him on Sunday. It’s terrible.”
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Many NFL fans grew to appreciate Siragusa after Baltimore featured on the maiden season of HBO’s Hard Knocks . The New Jersey native gained a reputation as a practical joker, famously locking some of his team-mates in a trailer before Shannon Sharpe responded by moving his car to a nearby supermarket.
The Ravens marked a “tremendously sad day” after already announcing the death of linebacker Jaylon Ferguson earlier on Wednesday. The 26-year-old has competed in all Baltimore’s pre-season programme thus far, with a cause of death yet to be confirmed.
A team statement remembered Ferguson as “a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon.”