OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Within the spring of 2001, the defending Tremendous Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens held their first minicamp with one notable absence.
Tony Siragusa — a.okay.a. “the Goose” — wasn’t within the defensive position assembly room. However, teammates heard he was planning to make a giant splash. Then, a loud noise was heard all through the group facility. Everybody ran out to the apply discipline.
Siragusa arrived in a helicopter, which landed squarely on the 50-yard line. The boisterous 350-pound defensive deal with hopped out and hammed it up in entrance of his teammates, pointing at his flexed proper biceps.
“That was basic,” former Ravens defensive deal with Sam Adams stated. “And [coach Brian] Billick was simply sitting there together with his mouth open like, ‘Why me?’”
Siragusa, who died at the age of 55 on Wednesday, could not have made any Professional Bowls or the Ravens’ Ring of Honor throughout or after his 12 seasons within the NFL, however teammates attest to his irrepressible and irreplaceable legacy: Siragusa was a Corridor of Fame character.
As a lot as Siragusa was ignored for his run-stuffing prowess on the sphere, he made positive everybody noticed and heard him within the locker room and in entrance of cameras. And, as a lot because the Ravens group mourns his dying, teammates know Siragusa would need them to recollect him with a smile.
“He would anticipate a roast to go on proper now at his funeral,” stated former Ravens kicker Matt Stover, who was Siragusa’s teammate for 5 seasons. “He would find it irresistible.”
No holds-barred humor
Stover was some of the reliable kickers within the NFL. He was additionally some of the thick-skinned, thanks partly to Siragusa.
The Ravens would ship out Stover for a successful kick, and he would hear Siragusa curse at him, yell at him and even threaten him from the sideline.
“Pay attention, you [expletive], if you happen to miss this kick, don’t come again to this sideline as a result of I’ll damage you,” Siragusa would say.
Kevin Byrne, the Ravens’ longtime head of public relations, requested Stover if the trash speak helped. “No, but it surely does make me smile,” Stover responded.
Stover stated he loved the added stress that Siragusa supplied. At one apply, Stover requested Siragusa to go all-out on him.
So, the Goose pulled down his pants and mooned him.
Siragusa’s no-holds-barred humorousness helped with greater than discipline targets. Throughout that 2000 championship season, the Ravens didn’t rating a landing for the entire month of October. It may have been a divisive scenario with the offense failing to achieve the tip zone in 5 straight video games and the protection surrendering simply 4 touchdowns over that span.
“With out him, we might not have received that Tremendous Bowl as a result of that locker room may have turned so simply,” Stover stated. “He stored it free. He’d break the ice within the room. The man was an incredible power within the locker room.”
Everybody was a goal
Coming into the NFL as an undrafted rookie, Siragusa prided himself on making the NFL the exhausting means, which is why big-name rookies rubbed him the fallacious means. He advised them to not park their costly automotive close to his as a result of he would open his door wildly and put dents in them.
Siragusa, who hated weigh-ins, additionally made rookies fill within the chart above the size for him.
“Put no matter you need,” Siragusa stated on the inaugural season of HBO’s Arduous Knocks. “Put 215 [pounds]. Let’s freak them out slightly bit. Misplaced 900 kilos — as we speak!”
Siragusa endeared himself to teammates as a result of he joked about everybody, together with coaches. When then-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis misplaced out on the Payments’ head teaching job, Siragusa requested him, “What are you going to do with all of the snowblowers you acquire?”
Nobody was secure from Siragusa. In 2001, he introduced paint weapons to coaching camp to harass rookies. After Billick had threatened Siragusa and requested him to cease, the ornery defensive lineman shot a paintball at a custodian, who was on a ladder attempting to scrub up a paint splotch on a second story wall.
When the resort employee angrily got here down the ladder, Siragusa took out a roll of payments from his pockets and handed it over. The custodian smiled.
“He was simply the life of each room he got here into,” former Ravens linebacker Peter Boulware stated.
Not effective with it
Siragusa didn’t get penalized when he drove Wealthy Gannon into the turf, forcing the Raiders quarterback out of the 2000 AFC championship sport. He did get a $15,000 effective, although, which he blamed on TV analyst Phil Simms.
In the course of the telecast of the sport, Simms was emphatic that Siragusa ought to’ve been flagged as a result of, in Simms’ view, he was attempting to harm Gannon — a declare Siragusa believed prompted the league to punish him.
Two weeks later, Siragusa stood over Simms at a Tremendous Bowl manufacturing assembly and advised him that he owed him $15,000. When Simms stated he wasn’t going to be intimidated, Siragusa requested Simms in regards to the progress of his house being inbuilt New Jersey.
“How have you learnt that?,” Simms requested.
Siragusa, who’s from New Jersey, responded: “Let me inform you this: Whenever you’re lacking $15,000 price of shrubs, you’ll know the place they’re.”
In October 2000, Siragusa was carted off the sphere in a sport in opposition to the Tennessee Titans and went to the native hospital with a bruised spinal twine.
“We picked him up and put him within the stretcher,” Adams stated. “I’m having tears in my eyes after they wheel him off the sphere. Then, I see him come again within the sport and I’m pondering to myself: ‘What the hell is happening?’”
Siragusa was suggested not to return within the sport, however he determined to disregard the recommendation as a result of he didn’t need to let down his teammates. That dedication to his fellow gamers didn’t get as a lot consideration as his wise-cracking barbs.
On Christmas Eve in 1999, an unintended hearth burned down the condo of Ravens defensive finish Fernando Smith. Siragusa confirmed up with $10,000 price of garments and a automotive full of toys for the kids.
“He took care of teammates,” Byrne stated. “He had a beneficiant coronary heart.”
When Siragusa got here into the NFL, he spent his total $1,000 signing bonus from the Indianapolis Colts at a bar. When he introduced his retirement 12 years later, he did so at a watering gap throughout his weekly radio present.
“I’ve had a whole lot of enjoyable, a whole lot of recollections,” Siragusa stated in January 2002. “I really feel like I’m going to must get up and pinch myself as a result of I’ve had a lot enjoyable in my profession. If anybody has as a lot enjoyable in a single yr that I’ve had in 12, they’ll be very completely satisfied.”