We were all shocked to hear of the passing of football great Tony Siragusa at the age of 55.

Born in Kenilworth, Siragusa attended Brearley High School, then Pitt before going onto the National Football League. He would have an outstanding career for 12 seasons with the Indianapolis Colts and Baltimore Ravens.

Giants fans will remember Siragusa from the Ravens' 34-7 demolition of Big Blue in Super Bowl XXXV.

Tony Siragusa in 2001 ahead of the Baltimore Ravens win over the New York Giants at Super Bowl 35 (Mandatory Credit Andy Lyons/ALLSPORT)
Tony Siragusa in 2001 ahead of the Baltimore Ravens win over the New York Giants at Super Bowl 35 (Mandatory Credit Andy Lyons/ALLSPORT)
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Comedian Jeff Norris played high school football with "Goose." He called into my New Jersey 101.5 radio show to remember his good friend.

Jeff Norris - Townsquare Media
Jeff Norris - Townsquare Media
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"He was a very big influence to me with sports and in high school," says Norris. "He's actually the one who got me into football, then Tony went off to the University of Pitt and I went to West Virginia."

Norris would suffer a triple compound fracture of the left leg.

"I'll never forget. Tony drove all the way from Pittsburgh all the way to Garwood New Jersey just to see me before his game."

How would Norris describe Siragusa?

"Just a true class guy. Anyone who knew Tony Siragusa knew not only the athlete he was but the heart he had. He gave to kids, he donated his time with football, with money, getting fields for the Kenilworth high school that we went to together."

Tony Goose Siragusa (R) and Jason Cameron (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
Tony Goose Siragusa (R) and Jason Cameron (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
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Norris told a great story of Siragusa's High School days

"Tony was a both-way tackle, and he was also our punter. We were playing Roselle Park in the state championship, and it was like 4th and 30. So the coach goes, 'Tony just go fake kick it, and Siragusa ran like 52 yards.'"

"He was just a great man," says Norris. "A hell of an athlete and when push came to shove if you knew him and he loved you, he was always in our corner."

Townsquare Media
Jeff Norris - Townsquare Media
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Norris knew both Tony as well as his family.

"My heart goes out to the Siragusa family, his incredible Mom, his brothers Pete and Elio"

"It's a shame, anyone who knew Tony, I feel your pain and I know what you're going through. Hang in there and cherish that guy. He was a good man."

Norris later texted me

"Anybody who wore a David Brearley high school football jersey feels the loss of Tony Siragusa. Whether you happen to be on the team when Tony was a player, or just that you played at the high school."

"Tony was a living legend. He left a legacy for David Brearley High School and influenced so many. Not just myself, but Tony had a way of making you a better person, a better football player. He was always the life of the party and he was just a role model."

Tony Siragusa death dies NJ native
(Photos by Mandatory Credit: Doug Pensinger /Al, Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for DIRECTV)
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"He was always there for kids in any need. I called on Tony a couple of times and he was always there. He donated to the 'Canines for Warriors' program that I do."

"I know the town of Kenilworth which is an incredible town with beautiful memories. I know that town is in pain because Tony Siragusa was Kenilworth's favorite son. I know he will always be in our hearts forever."

"Tony's influence wasn't always a man on a football field. He taught you how to set a goal and achieve it, and you carried that through life. I know it helped me for the outline for what I wanted to be in life as an entertainer."

"Tony Siragusa's personality made him a celebrity to celebrities but he never forgot his hometown or the people he called friends...And he had millions of them."

Salute Tony! RIP.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Steve Trevelise only. Follow him on Twitter @realstevetrev.

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