Former Colts and Ravens defensive tackle Tony Siragusa has died unexpectedly at the age of 55. “Goose”, as he was known to friends and foes alike, is survived by his wife, Kathy Siragusa (née Giacalone), their three children and his 80-year-old mother.
A cause of death hasn’t been made public, but his family announced Siragusa passed away in his sleep.
In a 2012 interview with Howard Stern, “Goose” mentioned his father had died of a heart attack at 48 while Tony and his brothers tried to give him first aid. He also admitted heart disease runs in his family.
Friends, colleagues and fans are mourning the loss and sending heartfelt messages to Siragusa’s wife and family.
Tony Siragusa was integral to the Ravens’ Super Bowl XXXV win
Tony Siragusa, nicknamed “Goose”, made a name for himself in the NFL in 1990 when he entered the scene as a free agent with the Indiannapolis Colts. A 6ft 3in, 340lb defensive tackle, he made an immediate impression and in 1992 became a regular starter.
Born and raised in New Jersey, Goose attended Brearley High School in Kenilworth, where he started playing football and wrestled on the school team. He made New Jersey state wrestling champion with an amazing career record of 97-1. On the football team, he played defensive line, punted and place kicked, with a 39-yard punting average.
At the University of Pittsburgh, he played college football for the Pittsburgh Panthers and trained under head coach Mike Gottfried.
After playing with the Colts from 1990 to 1996, Siragusa signed with the Baltimore Ravens and was a vital part of the extraordinary team that saw the Ravens soar to their 2000 Super Bowl XXXV victory.
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He played a small but memorable part on The Sopranos
A natural performer, Siragusa found no shortage of media roles after his NFL career ended. From 2003 to 2015, he worked as a sideline analyst and reporter for NFL games on Fox, a role he left after the 2015 season.
He hosted a DIY Network home improvement show called Man Caves from 2007 to 2015 and was a Megamachines presenter on the Discovery Channel.
Additionally he had a small role on The Sopranos, in which he played rookie mobster and Tony Soprano driver Frankie Cortese for four episodes. Although small, the role was memorable and had Sopranos fans divided for a while.
In his most popular scene, Cortese puts a “made” Mafia member in a chokehold, causing fan forums everywhere to wonder how in the world he got away with it. Goose had his way, even on The Sopranos.
Who is Tony Siragusa’s wife, Kathy? Meet their family and children
Tony Siragusa and wife Kathy (née Giacalone) married on 22 April 1995, when Goose was 28 years old. Throughout their 27-year-strong marriage, the couple had three children – Samantha Rose, Anthony and Ava.
Goose’s wife, Kathy, 54, is just one year his junior and shared many of her loving husband’s favourite hobbies. The couple frequently travelled together, swimming in the Florida Keys and Jamaica, or sight-seeing across Europe and enjoying Munich’s Oktoberfest.
They appeared very much in love and Siragusa frequently posted photos online from dates, parties and anniversaries where he praised his wife for taking care of their three kids, two dogs and the family’s chickens while “staying so beautiful”.
The couple’s only son, Anthony, 22, graduated in May from Vilavona Business School, which coincided with Siragusa’s 55th birthday:
Later the same month, the whole family celebrated Siragusa’s mom turning 80, with dinners, parties and a trip to Jamaica:
RIP Goose: Colleagues remember his larger than life personality
In the 2012 interview with Stern in which he recalled his father’s death of a heart attack, Tony Siragusa mused on his own death, saying: “If I die tomorrow, I told my wife, ‘Just put a smile on my face. Put a little (Frank) Sinatra on.’ ”
As news of his sudden passing spread through the football world, colleagues shared their favourite anecdotes about the Goose.
The Ravens’ head coach in Super Bowl XXXV, Brian Billick, said in a statement: “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.”
NFL analyst for CBS and NFL Networks Charles Davis recalled the time Siragusa saved his life. The two worked together for one season and Goose noticed Davis was struggling to breathe while walking up a hill. He urged Davis to get checked out immediately and, when he did, doctors found his chest was filling with blood clots and he needed emergency surgery.
“He was such a big personality to go along with his stature,” Davis said of Siragusa, “there’s never a time you would think that he wouldn’t be around.”