Goose on the loose
Ravens' Siragusa enjoys a meal ... and his football
Updated: Friday January 12, 2001 9:09 PM
His 350-pound body, fueled heavily on pasta and French bread, belies the athletic ability he displays when stuffing an opposing ball carrier.
"Goose looks like a Burger King attendant," laughed Baltimore center Jeff Mitchell. "But what's amazing is his quickness. He's can really move and get inside the gaps."
With Siragusa and big Sam Adams lining up side by side in the middle of the Ravens' line, Baltimore set an NFL record for fewest yards rushing (970) allowed in a 16-game season. Siragusa recorded 75 tackles despite often attracting the attention of two blockers, a tactic the Oakland Raiders might want to try in Sunday's AFC Championship Game.
Siragusa, 33, loves playing football, but that's only a portion of his life. He finds enjoyment in just about everything, whether it's hunting, eating or tackling running backs.
"Whatever is on my menu or agenda that day is the best thing in my life," Siragusa said Wednesday. "I live every day like it was my last. I have fun, no matter what it is. As far as football, if you're not having fun out there, why are you playing?"
It was determined that he bruised his spinal cord. Undaunted, he promptly got in a car, returned to the stadium and finished the game.
Yet, just months earlier, Siragusa staged a four-week holdout and missed all of training camp in an effort to get a raise and a contract extension.
He got both. The Ravens added two years to the one season he had left on the old contract and upped his salary.
"I did that as a pride thing," Siragusa recalled Wednesday. "I didn't want to be the lowest-paid defensive lineman in the league."
He wouldn't admit it, but it's also likely that he simply didn't want to practice twice a day in the summer heat. Given his outstanding performance this year, he's a walking example of why training camp is overrated.
"Goose couldn't be much better this year," offensive lineman Edwin Mulitalo said.
Because Siragusa is a big, jolly defensive lineman with a clever nickname and an uncanny ability to stop the run, he has on occasion been compared with former NFL heavyweight William "Refrigerator" Perry.
Siragusa takes exception to the suggestion.
"You can't compare me to the Fridge," he said. "I'm lean and svelte. But that's what you guys do, compare this to that. Someday in the future, you see a nice little chunky Italian kid from New Jersey playing ball, I hope you compare him to me."
It's unlikely that will ever happen.
"There's no one like Goose. He's funny and serious, big and fast, a guy who will insult you and then do everything he can for you on Sunday," Ravens defensive tackle Larry Webster said.
Siragusa eats a lot, picks on his teammates and rarely gets serious during the week. All that changes on game day.
"That's when Goose cranks it up to another level. We look to him on game day for leadership and intensity," Mulitalo said. "Once we hit the field, it's all business for him."
Before then, however, anything goes.
Siragusa on facing the Raiders' fans: "I'm looking to take my helmet off, put a big bull's-eye on my head, see if I can catch a couple bottles of gin coming at me. Maybe I can drink it after the game."
His appreciation for those enthusiastic fans goes a long way toward explaining his outlandish personality.
"If I come back in the next life, I want to come back as a Raiders fan," he said. "These people are crazy sickos, and I love it."