Obit Siragusa Football

Tony Siragusa holds the Vince Lombardi trophy during a parade in his hometown of Kenilworth, N.J., after the Baltimore Ravens won the Super Bowl in 2001. Siragusa, who played 12 NFL seasons with the Colts and Ravens, died at age 55. Jeff Zelevansky/Associated Press

Tony Siragusa, the charismatic defensive tackle who helped lead a stout Baltimore defense to a Super Bowl title, has died. He was 55.

Siragusa’s broadcast agent, Jim Ornstein, confirmed the death Wednesday. The cause of death was not immediately available.

“This is a really sad day,” he said. “Tony was way more than my client, he was family. My heart goes out to Tony’s loved ones.”

Siragusa, known as “the Goose,” played seven seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and five with the Ravens. Baltimore’s 2000 team won the Super Bowl behind a defense that included Siragusa, Ray Lewis and Sam Adams.

Siragusa was popular with fans because of his fun-loving personality, which also helped him transition quickly to broadcasting after his playing career.

“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,” said Brian Billick, the coach of that Super Bowl-winning team. “We would not have won the Super Bowl without him. This is such stunning, sad news.”

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Siragusa came to Baltimore as a free agent in 1997 and teamed up with Adams to form an imposing defensive tackle tandem. In the Ravens’ 2000 championship season, the 6-foot-3, 340-pound Siragusa was sixth among Baltimore defenders with 75 tackles.

He finished his career with 22 sacks.

“I love Goose like a brother. From the first day we met, I knew that life was different. I knew he was someone who would change my life forever,” Lewis said. “He was a one-of-a-kind person who made you feel important and special. You can never replace a man like that.”

The news of Siragusa’s death came on what was already a tragic day for the Ravens. The death of Jaylon Ferguson, a linebacker for Baltimore, at age 26 was announced earlier in the day.

“This is a tremendously sad day for the Baltimore Ravens,” owner Steve Bisciotti said. “We appreciate everyone who has expressed an outpouring of support for our players, coaches and staff.”

Ferguson, nicknamed “Sack Daddy,” set the career sacks record in the college Football Bowl Subdivision (45) when he played at Louisiana Tech. He was drafted by the Ravens in the third round in 2019 and played his whole pro career with them. He appeared in 38 games and had 4 1/2 sacks.

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Police said the cause of death is still to be determined.

COMMANDERS: Washington Commanders owner Dan Snyder conducted a “shadow investigation” that sought to discredit former employees making accusations of workplace sexual harassment, hired private investigators to intimidate witnesses, and used an overseas lawsuit as a pretext to obtain phone records and emails, according to a document released by a House committee.

The Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating the Commanders’ workplace culture following accusations of pervasive sexual harassment by team executives of women employees. It released the memo ahead of Wednesday’s morning hearing at which NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell testified remotely.

Snyder was invited to testify but declined, citing overseas business commitments and concerns about due process. The committee chairwoman, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., announced during the hearing that she plans to issue a subpoena to compel him to testify.

The 29-page memo alleges Snyder tried to discredit the people accusing him and other team executives of misconduct and also tried to influence an investigation of the team by attorney Beth Wilkinson’s firm.

Snyder’s attorneys presented the NFL with a 100-slide PowerPoint presentation including “private text messages, emails, phone logs and call transcripts and social media posts from nearly 50 individuals who Mr. Snyder apparently believed were involved in a conspiracy to disparage him,” the committee said.

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In a statement, a spokesman for Snyder characterized the report and the hearing as “a politically charged show trial” and said Congress should not be investigating “an issue a football team addressed years ago.”

Goodell told the committee that the team’s culture has transformed as a result of the Wilkinson probe and that “Dan Snyder has been held accountable.”

The NFL fined the team $10 million last year and Snyder stepped away from its day-to-day operations after Wilkinson presented her findings to Goodell.

However, the league did not release a written report of Wilkinson’s findings, a decision Goodell said was intended to protect the privacy of former employees who spoke to investigators.

When announcing the discipline, the NFL said none of the people accused of sexual harassment still worked for the Washington franchise. But two separate accusations of sexual harassment by Snyder himself have since surfaced.

Former employee Tiffani Johnston told the committee that Snyder groped her at a team dinner and tried to force her into his limousine, which Snyder denies.

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And The Washington Post reported Tuesday that a woman accused Snyder of sexually assaulting her on a team plane in 2009, resulting in a $1.6 million settlement.

Johnston’s allegation prompted the NFL to hire former Securities and Exchange Commission chairwoman Mary Jo White to conduct a new investigation of Snyder and the team, and the league plans to release her findings to the public.

Maloney has introduced legislation to curb the use of workplace nondisclosure agreements and to offer protections for employees whose professional images are used inappropriately. Among the accusations against the Commanders are that team employees produced a video of lewd outtakes from a photo shoot involving the cheerleading squad.

According to the memo, Snyder used a defamation lawsuit against an obscure online media company based in India as a pretext to subpoena emails, phone records and text messages from former employees who spoke to The Washington Post about workplace harassment. The subpoenas were unusually broad, and many of the people targeted “had no plausible connection” to the Indian media company, the committee said.

The committee also alleged that Snyder sought to blame former team president Bruce Allen for the problems with Washington’s workplace culture and that Snyder’s lawyers provided Wilkinson and the NFL with 400,000 emails from Allen’s account, highlighting specific ones they deemed “inappropriate.”

Some email exchanges with Allen included homophobic and misogynistic comments by Jon Gruden that were leaked to reporters last fall and prompted Gruden to resign as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders.

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Witnesses also told the committee that Snyder sent private investigators to their homes and offered them hush money. The NFL was aware of Snyder’s use of private investigators, according to documents obtained by the committee, but that did not stop the practice, witnesses said.

Republicans on the committee accused Democrats of going after an NFL team to distract from more pressing issues and exceeding the scope of the committee’s mission.

“A core responsibility of this committee is to conduct oversight of the executive branch, but this entire Congress, Democrats have turned a blind eye to the Biden administration,” said Kentucky GOP Rep. James Comer, the committee’s ranking member. “Instead, the Oversight committee is investigating a single private organization for workplace misconduct that occurred years ago.”

DISCRIMINATION SUIT: The NFL and six of its teams have filed for arbitration in the lawsuit that alleges they engaged in racial discrimination. If the league’s request is successful, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would be the arbitrator.

The league and the teams filed papers late Tuesday with a judge presiding over a lawsuit that was filed by Brian Flores after he was fired in January as head coach of the Miami Dolphins. The NFL said employment agreements with teams signed by Flores and other coaches contain provisions that require the arbitration of all disputes.

Flores now works as an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Two other Black coaches in the league – Steve Wilks and Ray Horton – joined Flores’ lawsuit, in which he alleges that the league engages in racist hiring practices despite its claims to the contrary.

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The NFL has insisted the lawsuit is “without merit,” although Goodell said before the Super Bowl that “all of the allegations, whether they were based on racism or discrimination or the integrity of our game, all of those to me were very disturbing.”

A Manhattan federal judge is unlikely to rule on the arbitration issue until late summer at the earliest.

David Gottlieb, a lawyer for the coaches, said Wednesday that moving the case to the secrecy of arbitration was, in effect, “stripping our clients of their rights.”

“Arbitration is privatizing the judicial branch,” Gottlieb said. “All we’re asking for is an open and fair process.”

He said lawyers for Flores and the other two coaches will argue that the lawsuit belongs in federal court because any agreements calling for arbitration were signed with the teams rather than the league.


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