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Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Andy Russell dies at 82

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a rich history, and it all started in the 1970s with the vaunted “Steel Curtain” defense. While everyone remembers names like “Mean” Joe Greene, Jack Lambert and L.C. Greenwood, some might not remember linebacker Andy Russell.

Russell was a linebacker in the Steelers 4-3 defensive scheme, and filled out the trio with Lambert and Jack Ham. He was also one of the few players to come before the Chuck Noll era, and last through the changeover. Noll parted ways with the vast majority of the players who were drafted before his arrival, but Russell was one of the few to stick around.

Sadly, according to Pittsburgh’s Action News 4, Russell passed away Thursday night.

After playing for the Steelers his rookie season in 1963 and just missing out on playing the Chicago Bears for the NFL Championship, Russell temporarily left the team for the Army to fulfill ROTC commitments from Missouri. He then returned to the Steelers in 1966, where he would spend the next 11 seasons.

A member of the famed Steel Curtain defense, Russell was named team MVP in 1971. In his 12 years in the NFL, he made seven Pro Bowl appearances and won Super Bowls IX and X.

The cause of death is unknown at this time. Our condolences go out to the Russell family in this difficult time.


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