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Former Steeler Andy Russell dies at 82

Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Andy Russell gives a lecture about his new book on the campus of Butler County Community College years ago. Butler Eagle file photo

Two-time Super Bowl champion and former Pittsburgh Steeler Andy Russell has died at the age of 82.

The seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker died Thursday night and the cause of death is unknown at this time, according to media reports.

Born in Detroit and having played in college at Missouri, Russell became an immediate starter for the Steelers despite being a 16th-round draft pick in 1963.

Russell was voted the Steelers team MVP in 1971, and appeared in 168 consecutive games with the team. He started 162 of those games and payed in all 14 games during each of his 12 years in the NFL. He spent his entire career with the Steelers.

A Pro Bowler six straight years, from 1970-75, Russell was one of few Steelers to be a standout player during the team’s down years of the 1960s and a standout on the team’s first two Super Bowl championship squads.

Russell returned a fumble 93 yards for a touchdown against the Colts in the 1975 playoffs, putting that game away. Pittsburgh went in to defeat the Dallas Cowboys, 21-17, that year for its second consecutive Super Bowl win.

Following his rookie season, Russell left the Steelers for two years to fulfill military obligations. He returned in 1966 to begin building his Hall of Fame career.

Russell retired following the Steelers’ AFC Championship Game loss to the Oakland Raiders in 1976.

Funeral arrangements have not been announced.

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