CHICAGO – Many around the National Football League spent Wednesday mourning the loss of one of the more charismatic personalities in the last generation of the league.
Tony Siragusa, who spent 12 seasons in the NFL, died on Wednesday at the age of 55 years old, and many took time to pay tribute to the former defensive tackle on social media.
“The Goose squeezed 200 fun loving years into 55!! He was one of the most physically strongest players I have ever seen in 50 years, said Colts owner Jim Irsay in a tweet Wednesday afternoon. “In Greece, they would ask 1 question at the end of one’s life; Did He Have Passion? In Tony’s case..Yes He Did!”
Irsay had fond memories of Siragusa’s seven seasons with the Colts from 1990-1996, where he helped the team to their first Indianapolis-era AFC Championship Game in 1995. More people might remember his time with the Ravens from 1997-2001, where he was a part of the 2000 Super Bowl champions and their defense that remains among the best in NFL history.
Bears fans who had an eye on the league as a whole certainly knew who Siragusa was due to his play on the field but really didn’t know him that well. In fact, he only faced the Bears twice in his career – 1991 with the Colts and 2001 with the Ravens – since his entire career was spent in the AFC.
But fans in Chicago got to know Siragusa since he was a sideline reporter on a number of games during Bears’ broadcasts on the Fox network, which had the NFC broadcast package. For over a decade in his post-playing career through 2015, the former defensive tackle would provide his perspective from the sideline with his own flair.
In fact, he was on the broadcast of the Bears’ last playoff win on January 16, 2011 when they hosted the Seahawks at snowy Soldier Field in the NFC Divisional Playoff. Thanks to a great performance by Jay Cutler, who threw for two touchdowns and ran in two more, the Bears beat Seattle 35-24 to advance to the NFC Championship Game.
Naturally, it was Siragusa who interviewed Cutler after the game for the broadcast as the quarterback enjoyed arguably his best game in Chicago that afternoon.