The NFL community lost one of the game's biggest players and personalities on Wednesday, as former defensive lineman Tony Siragusa died at the age of 55. The cause of his death has yet to be publicly disclosed, but according to a report from Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network, Siragusa died peacefully in his sleep. The news of his unexpected death also came just hours after the Baltimore Ravens announced that linebacker Jaylon Ferguson had died at 26.
Siragusa played 12 seasons in the league (1990-2001), and with his mammoth 6-foot-3, 330-pound presence inside the trenches, he helped Baltimore hoist its first Lombardi Trophy back in 2001. After retirement, Siragusa stayed on the football field, but in a broadcasting role. From 2003 to 2015, he served as one of Fox Sports' sideline analysts, and his unique and outgoing nature made him a fan favorite. The Ravens shared a statement, mourning the loss of Siragusa.
"When you say the phrase 'larger than life,' to me, it's when a person walks in a room and their presence is felt by everyone. That was Tony," former Ravens receiver Qadry Ismail told The Zach Gelb Show on Wednesday. "He just had a way with his unfiltered mind to be as blunt as humanly possible. And yet, you didn't necessarily get offended by him -- you knew it was Tony. And I think for me and others who got a chance to know him, just loved and respected him.
"Really just appreciated who he was as a man. Just a larger than life character who had substance. And that's something I'll always cherish from my memory of the friendship that I shared with Tony Siragusa... And when we got into the locker room, you just could see not only the caring side of him, but he was a man's man -- he shot it to you straight. Always willing to give you advice, even if sometimes it was unsolicited."
The entire conversation about Siragusa's life between Ismail and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.