Steelers LB Andy Russell dies at 82

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Andy Russell is dead. He was 82 years old. WTAE reported the news Friday morning.

Russell, a two-time Super Bowl champion and one of the few remaining after Chuck Noll inherited the team in 1969, helped form the Steel Curtain during the Steelers' first pair of Super Bowl runs.

A 16th-round pick out of Missouri, Russell has proven he's good enough to be part of a new-look Noles team. Most of the players on the roster were quickly shown the door when Noll was hired, and the roster was rebuilt to turn around a losing culture and years of disappointing results. But Russell was a bright spot who proved his staying power, bridging the gap from lovable losers to world champions.

A seven-time Pro Bowler, he started 162 games, and his playing career spanned from 1963 to 1976. He missed the 1964-65 seasons due to military service, and was deployed to Germany to serve in the Army. Russell played alongside Jack Lambert and Jack Hamm, forming an impressive midfield trio. During his career, Russell caught 18 passes and unofficially, according to Pro Football Reference, recorded 38 sacks. He made his first Pro Bowl in 1968, one year before Noll arrived, and earned leaguewide recognition despite the Steelers' poor 2-11-1 record under coach Bill Austin. He would make his second Pro Bowl in 1970 and would do so for the next five seasons in a row.

A giant of toughness, he never missed a game in high school, college or during his NFL career.

Over the years, Andy Russell's teammates have made the case for him to make the Hall of Fame, one of the seven members of the Steel Curtain not to be immortalized in Canton. In November 2022, shortly before his death, right-back Franco Harris said Russell belonged.

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In 2018, Joe Green also mentioned the Russell case.

“We talk about him as the third man (at full-back), but he's actually the first,” he said in June of that year. “Andy Russell was around when we were the Steelers…you know, the team that everybody can beat.Andy struggled through some terrible years.

It was Russell He was inducted into the Steelers Hall of Honor In 2017. He was named to the Steelers' 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

After his playing days, Russell made an impact in his community. He was named Big Brothers Big Sisters Man of the Year for 1989. He helped raise more than $5 million for the Russell Family Foundation and supported Children's Hospital and cancer research. In 2008, Russell received the Myron Cope Legends in Sports Award. Russell also became an author, Writing three books about the Steelers And football career.

According to WTAE, Russell's funeral proceedings are pending.

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