FORMER PITT FOOTBALL STANDOUT TONY SIRAGUSA PASSES AWAY
6/22/2022 4:00:00 PM
PITTSBURGH—Tony Siragusa, a standout Pitt defensive lineman from 1985-89 who went on to play 12 NFL seasons, has passed away at the age of 55.
Nicknamed “the Goose,” Siragusa arrived at Pitt as a freshman in 1985 following a decorated career at New Jersey’s David Brearley High School, where he was an all-state football player and state champion wrestler.
He burst into prominence as a sophomore in 1986, compiling 78 tackles and seven sacks. In a victory over Rutgers that season, he racked up 17 tackles, including four for losses. Hindered by injuries the next two years, Siragusa bounced back as a senior in 1989 with 60 stops, 13 TFLs and 5.5 sacks. His performance helped the Panthers to an 8-3-1 record, including a 31-28 win over Texas A&M in the Sun Bowl.
Known for his passionate play on the field and colorful quips off it, Siragusa remains one of the most popular Panthers of his era. Never one to shy away from a needle-moving quote, Siragusa once said, “If I wanted to learn a school song, I would’ve gone to Notre Dame or Penn State. I want to kill people on the football field. That’s why I came to Pitt.”
Siragusa is, perhaps, Pitt football’s greatest NFL free-agent success story. He wasn’t picked in the 12-round 1990 NFL Draft and ultimately signed with the Indianapolis Colts. Siragusa ended up playing 12 NFL seasons—seven with the Colts and his final five with the Baltimore Ravens—winning a Super Bowl in Baltimore in 2000.
Siragusa retired from the NFL following the 2001 season. He would then embark on a long and varied media career that included work as an analyst for FOX’s NFL coverage, a recurring role on HBO’s iconic series The Sopranos and hosting shows on the Discovery Channel and DIY Network.
“Tony truly was bigger than life, on and off the field,” said Pitt head football coach Pat Narduzzi. “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 so many places but he never forgot Pitt. We could always count on him to send the best recorded pep talks to our guys before our biggest games. ‘The Goose’ leaves a great legacy and he will be sorely missed. Our sympathies to his family, many loved ones and former teammates.”