Former Ravens great, Super Bowl XXXV champion Tony Siragusa dies at age 55

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On the same day the Ravens were already mourning the tragic loss of 26-year-old linebacker Jaylon Ferguson, former defensive tackle and Super Bowl XXXV champion Tony Siragusa has died at age 55.

The cause of death was not immediately known.

With an outspoken personality and a listed 6-foot-3, 340-pound frame that made him larger than life, the man known as “Goose” helped anchor one of the greatest defenses in NFL history and quickly became one of the most popular faces for a new franchise in Baltimore. Having defected from Indianapolis as a free agent in 1997, the beefy defensive tackle played with the Ravens from 1997-2001 and eventually teamed with fellow defensive tackle Sam Adams to wreak havoc in the trenches and keep blockers off All-Pro middle linebacker Ray Lewis for a historic 2000 defense that registered four shutouts and set an NFL record for the fewest points allowed in a 16-game season. His defining moment during that Super Bowl run came in the AFC Championship when he drove Oakland’s Rich Gannon into the ground, injuring the the Pro Bowl quarterback’s shoulder and knocking him out of the 16-3 win that sent the Ravens to the Super Bowl in Tampa.

Siragusa collected 159 tackles, 5 1/2 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and one forced fumble in 73 career games with the Ravens.

A New Jersey native and 1990 undrafted free agent from the University of Pittsburgh, Siragusa had a sense of humor and underdog story that reminded many longtime Baltimore Colts fans of Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Art Donovan. Siragusa’s personality was showcased to a greater audience in 2001 when he was one of the Ravens players featured prominently in the first season of HBO’s “Hard Knocks,” a popular NFL training camp series still going strong two decades later. Following his retirement in 2001, Siragusa was a guest star on “The Sopranos” and served as an NFL analyst and sideline reporter for FOX for over a decade.

Siragusa is survived by his wife, Kathy, and children Samantha, Anthony Jr., and Ava.

Below are statements from several prominent Ravens figures, courtesy of the organization:

Steve and Renee Bisciotti

“Renee and I are stunned and heartbroken to learn about the sudden passing of Tony Siragusa.

“He was a special person and clearly one of the most popular players in Ravens history. Tony’s larger-than-life personality made an enormous impact on our organization and throughout the Baltimore community.

“On the football field, Goose was a difference-maker who contributed immeasurably to the success of many great Ravens defenses, including the record-setting 2000 Super Bowl team.

“Our deepest prayers and sympathies go out to Kathy, their three children and the rest of the Siragusa family.

“This is a tremendously sad day for the Baltimore Ravens. We appreciate everyone who has expressed an outpouring of support for our players, coaches and staff.”

Ozzie Newsome

“Goose was quite a character, but he was one of our leaders on the 2000 Super Bowl team. He was probably one of the best run-stoppers to play for our defense over the years. My heart breaks for Kathy, Samantha, Anthony Jr. and Ava. They are in my prayers.”

Brian Billick

“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. 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.”

Marvin Lewis

“First of all, my deepest condolences to Tony’s family. With Tony as a friend and teammate, you needed no other. He played and lived life to the fullest. He always reminded me to ‘have fun.’ This is a very sad day.”

Sam Adams

“It was an honor and a privilege to line up next to Tony Siragusa. He made the game fun and was a true competitor. Our D-line room was special on and off the field. May he rest easy, and may God bless and keep his family.”

Jamal Lewis

“Goose was one of the most humble and funniest guys I knew. I can remember his locker being next to mine on gameday. He was never bothered and enjoyed life. While I had butterflies in my stomach, he was cracking jokes and pumping me up at the same time. Glad we got a chance to be together one last time for the Super Bowl XXXV celebration. He will be truly missed.”

Ray Lewis

“This is a tough one. I love Goose like a brother. 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.

“We should never put off tomorrow for what we can do today. Hug your loved ones for Goose. We were all so blessed that God gave us that time together celebrating our 2000 team a few weeks ago.

“To the Siragusa family: We have lost a great man, but God has gained a great angel. May they be blessed, held and comforted by the peace he brought to everyone who encountered him.”

Matt Stover

“I am sorry to lose such a great teammate and friend. I truly believe that the Super Bowl XXXV team would have never been as good as it was without Tony. He not only plugged up the middle, but his locker room presence created a loose environment when things were tight. He will be missed, but not forgotten.”

Rod Woodson

“Tony was always the life of the party. I know he loved his family and friends. My feelings are overwhelmed right now with grief for his family.”