Steelers legend Andy Russell dies at 82

Field Level Media

March 01, 2024 at 8:25 pm.

Legendary Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Andy Russell, a two-time Super Bowl champion, has died. He was 82.

According to Action News 4 in Pittsburgh, Russell died Thursday night. Cause of death isn’t immediately known.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette later confirmed the death of Russell, who was a seven-time Pro Bowl selection while part of the famous Steel Curtain defense. The Steelers won Super Bowl IX and X during Russell’s tenure.

Russell was part of a star-studded trio of linebackers featuring Jack Lambert in the middle and Jack Ham on the other side.

“If you want to be a great linebacker, you also have to be smart out there, and he taught me the mental part of the game,” Ham told the Post-Gazette. “I think that’s what set him apart and made his career such a great career here in Pittsburgh.”

Russell was a 16th-round pick in 1963 and played 12 seasons with Pittsburgh, beginning in 1963 before serving a two-year military stint. He returned to play from 1966-76 and put together a streak of 168 consecutive games played, never missing a game during his career.

In the 1975 postseason, Russell set a playoff record for longest fumble return when he picked up the ball and ran 93 yards for a touchdown against the then-Baltimore Colts. The record stood until Sam Hubbard of the Cincinnati Bengals had a 98-yard return against the Baltimore Ravens on Jan. 15, 2023.

Prior to his NFL career, Russell played linebacker and running back for Missouri. He was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.