Tony Siragusa, Super Bowl winner, and NFL sideline reporter, dies at 55
Tony Siragusa, the charismatic defensive tackle that helped lead the Baltimore defense to the Super Bowl title, has died. He was 55 years old.
The Baltimore Ravens, for which Siragusa played five seasons, said Siragusa died “unexpectedly” on Wednesday morning. The cause of death was not immediately known.
“This is a really sad day,” Jim Ernstein, a broadcast agent in Syracuse, told the Associated Press. “Tony was so much more than my client, he was a family. My heart goes out to Tony’s loved ones.”
Known as the “Swan,” Syracuse played seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and five with the Ravens. Baltimore’s 2000 team won the Super Bowl behind defenses consisting of Syracuse, Ray Lewis and Sam Adams.
“It’s a tough one. I love Goose like a brother,” Lewis said in a statement Wednesday.
Jim Irse, owner of the Indianapolis Colts, tweeted: “The Goose squeezed 200 fun loving years in 55 !! He was the strongest physically strong player I’ve ever seen in 50 years in Greece, he’ll ask 1 question at the end of one’s life; does he have a passion? In Tony’s case ..Yes he did !! “
Siragusa was popular with fans for his fun-loving personality, which helped him make a quick transition to broadcasting after his playing career.
Siragusa came to Baltimore as a free agent in 1997 and created an effective defensive tackle tandem with Adams. In the Ravens ’2000 championship season, the 6-foot-3, 340-pound Syracuse was sixth among Baltimore defenders with 75 tackles.
“It was an honor and privilege to stand next to Tony Siragusa,” Adams said in a statement following the news of Siragusa’s death. “He made the game fun and he was a real competitor. Our D-line room was special on and off the field. May he rest and may God bless and bless his family.”
Syracuse ended his career with 22 sacks.
The news of Syracuse’s death was already a sad day for the Crows. The death of linebacker for Baltimore, Jaylon Ferguson, aged 26, was announced the day before.
“This is a very sad day for the Baltimore Ravens,” said owner Steve Biscuitti. “We appreciate everyone who supports our players, coaches and staff.”
Siragusa was a star footballer and wrestler at David Brearley High School in New Jersey. He then played college in Pittsburgh, where he had a reputation for WiseCracks before his NFL career.
“If I wanted to learn school song, I’d go to Notre Dame or Penn State,” he once said. “I want to hit people on the football field. That’s why I came to Pitt.”
Syracuse was drafted before signing with Indianapolis, but it became a championship-winning force in the NFL. Then, working for Fox’s NFL coverage, he took his personality to the airwaves.
“His unquenchable passion for football established him as one of the most charismatic figures to ever set foot on the gridiron or in front of the camera,” Fox Sports said in a statement.
Syracuse had a role in HBO’s “The Sopranos” and hosted shows on the Discovery Channel and DIY Network.
Pitt’s current football coach Pat Narduzi said, “Tony was really bigger than life, on and off the field. “He played the game passionately and relentlessly. Despite not drafting, he flourished in the NFL for 12 years. His post-football life took him to many places but he never forgot Pitt. We can always count on him to send the best record. Before our biggest games Pep talks to our kids. “