At 6-foot-7, Lamar Lundy was a big target for Purdue quarterback Len Dawson from 1954-56.

Hall of Fame QB Len Dawson dies at 87

Hall of Fame quarterback Len Dawson, a Super Bowl MVP and later well-known NFL broadcaster, died at age 87.

Dawson was MVP of the AFL and spent more than six decades as part of the Kansas City Chiefs as a player and broadcaster, including guiding the franchise to its first Super Bowl victory. He also played for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“With wife Linda at his side, it is with much sadness that we inform you of the passing of our beloved Len Dawson,” Dawson’s family said in a statement issued by Channel 9 (KMBC-TV) in Kansas City. “He was a wonderful husband, father, brother and friend. Len was always grateful and many times overwhelmed by the countless bonds he made during his football and broadcast careers. “He loved Kansas City and no matter where his travels took him, he could not wait to return home.

On the field, Dawson was known as “Lenny the Cool” and started in Super Bowl I and Super Bowl IV as part of his 14-year run as the team’s No. 1 quarterback.

In 19 seasons as a pro, Dawson passed for 28,711 yards with 239 TD passes. He had nine touchdown runs and 1,293 rushing yards in his career.

Dawson led the NFL in completion percentage eight times and was the leader in passing yards and touchdown passes four times.

Dawson became a broadcaster with the Chiefs and had national roles with NBC and “Inside the NFL” behind the microphone.

In January 1970, Dawson led the Chiefs to a 23-7 win over the favored Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV and was the game’s MVP, capping the victory with a 46-yard touchdown pass.

The Chiefs lost Super Bowl I to the Green Bay Packers, 35-10.

Dawson was born into a large family in Alliance, Ohio, and had 10 siblings. He attended Purdue University and debuted as the Boilermakers starter in 1954, playing for a coaching staff that included assistant coach Hank Stram.

He was the fifth overall pick in 1957 to the Steelers, who selected Dawson one spot ahead of Syracuse running back Jim Brown. After toiling as a backup with the Steelers and Cleveland Browns, Dawson requested his release. In June 1962, the Browns let him go.

He’d reunite with Stram, then the AFL Dallas Texans’ coach, thanks to their strong ties at Purdue.

Dawson not only won the starting job and proved Stram’s hunch that he could succeed in pro football was accurate, the Texans won the AFL title that season and Dawson was named Player of the Year. In 1963, the franchise moved to Kansas City with Dawson as a centerpiece.

–Field Level Media

Nov 1, 2019; Sunbury on Thames, United Kingdom; Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes speaks at press conference at the London Irish Training ground at the Hazelwood Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Texans president Jamey Rootes dies at 56

The Houston Texans paid tribute Tuesday to former team president Jamey Rootes, who died at 56 after a battle with “mental health issues.”

Rootes wife, Melissa Wildgen Rootes, announced his death Monday night in a Facebook post, writing he died “after a battle with mental health issues.” She also included the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

“Our family is requesting privacy and will not be responding to media inquiries,” she said in the post. She said he died Sunday.

The Texans posted a tribute to social media Tuesday, “remembering Jamey Rootes.”

Rootes was hired in 2002, the first season of the franchise, by late Texans owner Bob McNair. He resigned in February 2021.

“For two decades, Jamey led our business operations with an unwavering commitment to Houston and the Houston Texans,” the McNair family said in a joint statement. “We are grateful for his steadfast leadership and immeasurable contributions to our team. Our thoughts and heartfelt condolences are with Jamey’s wife, Melissa, and their two children during this extremely difficult time.”

–Field Level Media

Jul 14, 2022; Arlington, TX, USA; A view of the Texas Longhorns helmet logo during the Big 12 Media Day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas legend Steve ‘Big Woo’ Worster dies at 73

Texas Longhorns legendary fullback Steve Worster, a two-time first-team All-American, has died. He was 73.

According to the school, Worster died Saturday. Media outlets said he had been experiencing health issues.

Worster, known as “Big Woo,” thrived in Texas’ wishbone offense that revolved around three running backs and the quarterback. The bruising back helped the Longhorns win national titles in both 1969 and 1970.

Worster finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy balloting in 1970 when he established career highs of 898 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns. He earned consensus first-team All-American honors that season.

Worster rushed for 2,353 yards and 36 touchdowns in his three seasons. His touchdown count currently ranks tied for fifth in school history while his rushing yardage is 16th.

He averaged 5.1 yards per carry over his career, topped by a 5.6 mark in 1970. He is a member of the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor.

Texas went 30-2-1 in Worster’s three campaigns, including a school-record 30-game winning streak that was halted with a 24-11 loss to Joe Theismann-led Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl on Jan. 1, 1971.

The Longhorns were consensus national champions in 1969 and UPI national champions in 1970.

Worster was a second-team All-American in 1969 when he rushed for 649 yards and nine touchdowns. In 1968, as a sophomore, he rushed for 806 yards and 13 scores.

Worster was a fourth-round pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1971 but never played for the team. He briefly played for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League before retiring.

–Field Level Media

Oct 10, 2021; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; A general view of the Super Bowl logo on the player tunnel before the game between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Chiefs Pro Bowl LB Jim Lynch dead at 76

Former Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jim Lynch, a member of the team’s Hall of Fame after helping the club win its first Super Bowl, has died at age 76.

No cause of death was released among several outlets which reported on his death.

Lynch played all 11 NFL seasons with the Chiefs and helped form one of the league’s most well-respected linebacking units along with Pro Football Hall of Famers Bobby Bell and Willie Lanier. Lynch still has the third-most interceptions (17) by a linebacker in team history, behind only Lanier (27) and Bell (26).

The Lima, Ohio, native starred in college at Notre Dame, where he served as a co-captain on the national championship squad in 1966 and won the Maxwell Award as the best all-around player in college football. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1992.

After being selected by the Chiefs in the second round in 1967, Lynch played in 148 straight games to begin his career, missing his only three career games in his final season in 1977. He ranks sixth in franchise history with 14 fumble recoveries and earned Pro Bowl honors in 1968, his second season.

Lynch made four tackles in Super Bowl IV against the Minnesota Vikings, which Kansas City won 23-7 in his only Super Bowl appearance.

Over his 11 seasons with the Chiefs, Lynch played in 151 of a possible 154 games, starting 142. He was inducted into the Chiefs Hall of Honor in 1990.

–Field Level Media

Oct 12, 2019; Champaign, IL, USA; A Michigan Wolverines helmet sits on the back of the bench during the second half of the game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael Allio-USA TODAY Sports

Former Michigan coach Gary Moeller dies at 81

Gary Moeller, a longtime football coach best known for succeeding Bo Schembechler at Michigan, died on Monday.

Moeller was 81. A cause of death was not specified.

Among his 23 years associated with the Wolverines, Moeller spent five seasons (1990-94) as their head coach. He was also the head coach at Illinois (1977-79) and the NFL’s Detroit Lions (2000).

Moeller’s Michigan teams went 44-13-3 in his five-year head coaching stint, including three Big Ten Championships and a 4-1 record in bowl games. He led Michigan to a 9-0-3 record and a Rose Bowl victory in 1992.

From 1990 through 1992, the Wolverines won 19 straight conference games, setting a Big Ten record.

“The football world lost a great man in Gary Moeller,” current Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a statement. “Coach Moeller cared for his players and his teams and was devoted to the University of Michigan. He gave a lot to the game of football, excelling as both an offensive and defensive coordinator and head coach in the college and NFL ranks. We have lost a wonderful family man.”

Harbaugh overlapped with Moeller from 1982-86, when Harbaugh played quarterback and Moeller was the defensive coordinator on Schembechler’s staff. Moeller then served as the Wolverines’ offensive coordinator from 1987-89 and took over the top job when Schembechler retired from coaching.

Moeller resigned as head coach in May 1995 after he was arrested for disorderly conduct at a restaurant in Michigan. After two seasons as the Cincinnati Bengals’ tight ends coach, he coached the Lions’ linebackers until being promoted to interim head coach during the 2000 season when Bobby Ross resigned mid-year.

Moeller’s Lions went 4-3 during his interim stint.

–Field Level Media

Feb 14, 2022; Los Angeles, CA, USA; The NFL shield logo is seen at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

‘Hammering’ Hank Goldberg dies at 82

Sports handicapping expert Hank Goldberg died Monday on his 82nd birthday after a lengthy battle with kidney disease.

Goldberg’s family confirmed his death.

Known affectionately as “Hammering” Hank, Goldberg worked for two decades at ESPN predicting NFL games as well as thoroughbred horse racing.

Goldberg was also a longtime personality in Miami, where he worked as a radio and TV host for more than 25 years, including as an analyst for Miami Dolphins games.

–Field Level Media

Feb 2, 2022; Landover, MD, USA; A view of the new logos during a press conference revealing the Washington Commanders as the new name for the formerly named Washington Football Team at FedEx Field. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Longtime Washington DB Brig Owens dies at 79

Brig Owens, a defensive back with Washington for 12 of his 13 NFL seasons, has died at age 79.

He died on Tuesday, according to a statement by the Military Bowl Foundation, where he was a board member. No cause of death was released.

“Brig was such a special person,” Military Bowl Foundation president and executive director Steve Beck said in a statement. “He believed so strongly in helping others and repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to giving back to the community. He was an important part of the Military Bowl Foundation and took great pride in helping our nation’s service members.”

Owens, a native of Linden, Texas, ranks second in Washington franchise history with 36 interceptions and first with 686 interception return yards. He scored five defensive touchdowns in his career (three on INTs, two on fumble returns), and is one of just four players in club history with five or more defensive scores.

Owens recorded an end-zone interception in his only Super Bowl appearance, a 14-7 loss to the undefeated Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl VII. He also scored two defensive touchdowns — a 62-yard fumble return and a 60-yard interception return — in a 72-41 win over the New York Giants in 1966, which remains the NFL’s highest-scoring game in history. Owens had three interceptions in the game.

The respected Owens, who was Black, also gained notoriety by rooming for 12 seasons with former tight end Jerry Smith, who was white, at training camp and on road trips. They became the league’s first interracial roommates.

A member of Washington’s Ring of Fame, Owens was originally drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the seventh round in 1965 after a storied college career at quarterback at Cincinnati. Dallas moved him to safety, then traded him to Washington after his rookie season spent on the sideline.

Owens became an immediate starter at safety in Washington, leading the team with seven picks in 1966 — one of three seasons with five or more INTs in his career. He went on to play every game for Washington in 11 straight seasons from 1966-1976 and didn’t miss a game until his final year in 1977.

For his career, Owens played 158 games and made 123 starts, all with Washington.

–Field Level Media

Former defensive lineman Tony Siragusa was a veteran of 12 NFL seasons.

2022-06-22-tony-siragusa

Former Colts, Ravens DL Tony Siragusa dies at 55

Super Bowl-winning defensive lineman Tony Siragusa, who played 12 seasons for the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens, has died at age 55.

Colts owner Jim Irsay confirmed Siragusa’s death over social media. Pro Football Network reported that Siragusa, who was affectionately known as “Goose” during his playing career, died in his sleep.

“I’m heart broken as is all of Colts Nation,” Irsay tweeted.

Siragusa won a title with the Ravens in Super Bowl XXXV. He finished with 564 tackles, 22 sacks and nine fumble recoveries in 169 games (148 starts) for the Colts (1990-96) and Ravens. He retired after the 2001 season over a decade after he broke into the league as an undrafted free agent in 1990.

“He was a special person and clearly one of the most popular players in Ravens history,” Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti said in a statement. “Tony’s larger-than-life personality made an enormous impact on our organization and throughout the Baltimore community.”

The 6-foot-3 Siragusa played at 330 pounds during his career.

Siragusa went on to become a sports personality and an actor. He was a sideline analyst for Fox Sports from 2003-15. He also had a speaking role in Spike Lee’s movie “25th Hour” in 2002 and also appeared in an episode of “The Sopranos” in 2004.

Siragusa’s is the second death that hit the Ravens’ organization in one day. Earlier Wednesday, the team announced that outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died at the age of 26.

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

–Field Level Media

NFL Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jaylon Ferguson

Ravens LB Jaylon Ferguson, 26, dies suddenly

Baltimore Ravens outside linebacker Jaylon Ferguson died at the age of 26.

The team announced Ferguson’s sudden death on Wednesday morning.

“We are profoundly saddened by the tragic passing of Jaylon Ferguson,” the Ravens said. “He was a kind, respectful young man with a big smile and infectious personality. We express our heartfelt condolences to Jaylon’s family and friends as we mourn a life lost much too soon.”

Ferguson set an NCAA record with 45 career sacks at Louisiana Tech and was drafted in the third round by the Ravens in 2019. Known at Louisiana Tech as “Sack Daddy,” Ferguson and his partner, Doni, had two children.

Safarrah Lawson, who is Ferguson’s agent, told NFL Network the family would appreciate privacy while coping with his loss.

Ferguson posted 4.5 career sacks and 67 total tackles in 38 games (10 starts) with the Ravens.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA;  General view of the NFL shield logo signage before the Pittsburgh Steelers host the Cleveland Browns at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Browns, Chargers LB Bob Babich dead at 74

NFL first-round draft pick and former San Diego Chargers and Cleveland Browns linebacker Bob Babich died. He was 74.

The National Football Foundation announced Wednesday that Babich passed away on April 3 in the Clairemont community of San Diego. The cause of death was not revealed.

“An exceptional hard hitting linebacker, Bob Babich made his mark in Oxford as one of the best in the country,” NFF chairman Archie Manning said. “He was great guy to be around with a great sense of humor and full of great stories. We are deeply saddened to learn of his passing and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.”

Babich, a bruising 6-foot-2, 231-pound linebacker, played nine NFL seasons after a standout college career at Miami (Ohio), where he played under head coach Bo Schembechler. He was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year in 1968.

In 1994, he became the only Bobcats player to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

The Youngstown, Ohio, native was selected in the first round (No. 18 overall) in the 1969 NFL Draft by San Diego, where he broke into the lineup in 1970 — when he started every game.

That began a stretch when Babich missed only three games, all in 1975, over his nine NFL seasons. For his career, he started 86 of his 125 games with the Chargers (1969-72) and Browns (1973-78).

–Field Level Media