Tony Siragusa, who helped the Ravens win the Super Bowl, dies at 55

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Tony Siragusa, the charismatic quarterback who was part of one of the most celebrated defenses in NFL history with the Baltimore Ravens, died Wednesday. He was 55.

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Syragusa broadcaster Jim Ornstein confirmed the death. The cause of death was not immediately determined.

“This is a really sad day,” he said. “Tony was more than my client, he was my family. My heart goes out to those close to Tony.”

Siragusa, known as “The Goose”, spent seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and five with the Ravens. The Baltimore team won the Super Bowl in 2000 thanks to a solid defense that included Siragusa, Ray Lewis and Sam Adams.

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Siragusa was popular with fans due to his jovial attitude, which also helped him make a quick transition to television broadcasting after his playing career.

“No one could match Gus – a warrior on the field and team unifier with a generous heart who helped teammates and the community more than many realize,” said Brian Billick, coach of that 2000 team. “Without him, we would not have won the Super Bowl. This is such stunning, sad news.”

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Siragusa came to Baltimore as a free agent in 1997 and teamed up with Adams to form an impressive defensive tandem. He ended his career with 22 sacks.

“I love Goose like a brother. From the first day we met, I realized that life is different. I knew he was the one who would change my life forever,” Lewis said. “He was a one of a kind person who made you feel important and special. You can never replace such a person.”

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The news of Syragusa’s death came on a tragic day for the Ravens. Earlier in the day, the death of Jalon Ferguson, a Baltimore linebacker, was announced at the age of 26.

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

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Siragusa was a star football player and wrestler at David Brearley High School in New Jersey. He then played collegiately in Pittsburgh, where he had a reputation for being witty long before his NFL career.

“If I wanted to learn a school song, I would go to Notre Dame or the University of Pennsylvania,” he once said. “I want to kill people on the football field. That’s why I came to Pitt.”

Siragus was not drafted before signing with Indianapolis, but he ended up as an NFL champion. He then showed his on-air personality while working for Fox’s NFL coverage.

“His incomparable passion for football has made him one of the most charismatic personalities ever to take to the field or in front of the camera,” Fox Sports said in a statement. “Goose was natural in his ability to connect the sport and its players with fans all over the world.”

Siragusa also had a role on the HBO series The Sopranos and hosted shows on the Discovery Channel and the DIY Network.

“Tony really was bigger than life, on and off the field,” said Pat Narduzzi, Pitt’s current football coach. “He played the game passionately and relentlessly. Despite not being drafted, he thrived in the NFL for 12 years. His post-football life took him to many places, but he never forgot Pitt. We could always count on him to send our guys the best recorded parting words before the most important games.”

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