Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; The Steelers logo on the helmet before the game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers legend Andy Russell dies at 82

Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Andy Russell, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has died. He was 82.

According to Action News 4 in Pittsburgh, Russell died Thursday night. Cause of death isn’t immediately known.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette later confirmed the death of Russell, who was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection while part of the famous Steel Curtain defense. The Steelers won Super Bowl IX and X during Russell’s tenure.

Russell was part of a star-studded trio of linebackers featuring Jack Lambert in the middle and Jack Ham on the other side.

“If you want to be a great linebacker, you also have to be smart out there, and he taught me the mental part of the game,” Ham told the Post-Gazette. “I think that’s what set him apart and made his career such a great career here in Pittsburgh.”

Russell was a 16th-round pick in 1963 and played 12 seasons with Pittsburgh, beginning in 1963 before serving a two-year military stint. He returned to play from 1966-76 and put together a streak of 168 consecutive games played, never missing a game during his career.

In the 1975 postseason, Russell set a playoff record for longest fumble return when he picked up the ball and ran 93 yards for a touchdown against the then-Baltimore Colts. The record stood until Sam Hubbard of the Cincinnati Bengals had a 98-yard return against the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 15, 2023.

Prior to his NFL career, Russell played linebacker and running back for Missouri. He was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Could Russell Wilson replace Tom Brady in Tampa?

Russell Wilson’s future in Seattle remains a topic of debate despite saying earlier this month that his “hope and goal” is to remain with the Seahawks.

BetMGM is offering -400 odds that the 34-year-old will remain with Seattle compared to +280 odds that another quarterback will be under center for the Seahawks in Week 1 next season.

But with several playoff contenders likely to be in the market for a quarterback upgrade this offseason and a draft class widely considered to be weak at the position, Seahawks general manager John Schneider may well receive tempting offers for Wilson.

Tampa Bay (Tom Brady) and Pittsburgh (Ben Roethlisberger) lost their starting quarterbacks to retirement shortly after their seasons ended. They are among 20 potential NFL destinations is offering odds on landing Wilson if he departs Seattle.

Russell Wilson Next Team Odds:
Buccaneers (+350)
Saints (+400)
Steelers (+400)
Dolphins (+500)
Raiders (+800)
Panthers (+1000)
Bears (+1000)
Broncos (+1200)
Browns (+1400)
Colts (+1400)
Patriots (+2000)
Commanders (+2000)
Titans (+2500)
Packers (+3300)
49ers (+3300)
Jets (+3300)
Eagles (+4000)
Falcons (+4000)
Ravens (+4000)
Texans (+5000)

Wilson reiterated in an interview with Chris Russo’s “Mad Dog Sports Radio” that he aims to be back with the Seahawks in 2022 and beyond.

“I’ve been fortunate to be able to play 10 amazing years in Seattle,” Wilson told Russo earlier this month. “My hope and goal is to be back there and keep winning there. That’s the vision, that’s the goal. That’s always been it. It’s never really been anything different.”

Wilson’s future in Seattle looked murky at best when he publicly lobbied for more offensive line help after the Seahawks lost in the wild-card round following the 2020 season. His agent then told ESPN that Wilson had not asked for a trade, but that the Super Bowl-winning quarterback would waive his no-trade clause to go to the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Las Vegas Raiders.

The quarterback landscape has changed since then, with the Cowboys locking up Dak Prescott long-term and the Bears drafting Justin Fields. Wilson is coming off a challenging 2021 season. He missed games due to injury for the first time and missed the playoffs with a losing record altogether, all career firsts.

In 14 games, Wilson threw for 3,113 yards, 25 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 64.8 completion percentage.

Near the end of the season, Wilson told reporters that he hoped he wasn’t nearing his last game as a Seahawk and said he planned to win more Super Bowls with the franchise.

“I want to win three more Super Bowls,” Wilson told Russo. “That’s my focus, is to get back and win again and for us to overcome all the obstacles. There’s nothing more fun than that.”

–Field Level Media