Former Ravens and Colts defensive tackle Tony Siragusa, who worked as a broadcaster for an extended period after his playing career ended, died in his sleep, Aaron Wilson of ProFootballNetwork.com reports (on Twitter). Siragusa was 55.
Prior to his lengthy career as a FOX sideline reporter, the gregarious NFL presence played 12 seasons. Siragusa’s playing career is best remembered for his role on the 2000 Ravens’ defense, which led the franchise on a dominant run to its first Super Bowl title.
“There was no one like Goose — a warrior on the field and a team unifier with a giving, generous heart who helped teammates and the community more than most people know,” former Ravens head coach Brian Billick said, via Wilson. “We would not have won the Super Bowl without him. This is such stunning, sad news, and our hearts go out to Kathy and the Siragusa family.”
Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed Siragusa’s death Wednesday. The Colts brought Siragusa into the league as an undrafted free agent in 1990, doing so back when the draft was a 12-round event. Despite going unselected that year, the Pitt product soon became a constant for Indianapolis up front. Siragusa played seven seasons with the Colts, signing a second contract to stay in 1993, and was part of a defense that helped the 1995 team make an improbable run to the AFC championship game.
The Ravens signed Siragusa to a four-year deal worth $6.1MM in 1997. He later teamed with fellow mammoth D-tackle Sam Adams on the Ravens’ historically elite 2000 defense. Siragusa started 19 games, including all four postseason contests, for that famed Baltimore team. Its defense did not allow a touchdown in Super Bowl XXXV, a 34-7 win over the Giants. Though known more for his size and personality, Siragusa finished his career with 22 sacks and made 148 starts.
Following that 2000 season, “Goose” became a memorable part of HBO’s initial Hard Knocks effort. That provided a springboard to the NFL vet’s broadcasting run, which began shortly after his 2002 retirement.