Steelers Super Bowl champion LB Andy Russell dies at 82

Former linebacker Andy Russell, who won two Super Bowls with the Steel Curtain defense, died Thursday night, according to WTAE. He was 82.

Russell was selected by the Steelers in the 16th round (No. 220) of the 1963 NFL draft but missed the 1964 and 1965 seasons to serve in the military and fulfill his ROTC commitments.

“He was a real top player there with all the intangibles and athletic skills, but not only that, he was a real leader,” Steelers personnel executive Art Rooney Jr. told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Brian Batko. “The thing was, he was in the ROTC. Coach Buddy Parker said let’s take him, but the fear was he might go to the service — and he did.”

The first six seasons that Russell spent with the Steelers were lean ones — the team finished with a losing record in each. Finally, in 1972, the Steelers took off and the Steel Curtain defense was born.

Over 12 seasons, 10 of which he served as team captain, Russell produced 38 sacks, 18 interceptions, 10 fumble recoveries and one touchdown in 168 games (162 starts). He was named team MVP in 1971 and was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection.

The only unfortunate accolade missing from his illustrious career is a bust in the Hall of Fame, which he so rightfully deserves.

Story originally appeared on Steelers Wire