Marvin Powell and Jim Sweeney, who anchored the New York Jets’ offensive line during the 1980s, died a day apart, the team announced. Powell was 67 and Sweeney was 60.
Powell, drafted No. 1 by the Jets out of the University of Southern California and the fourth pick overall in the 1977 NFL draft, died of heart failure on Friday, his son, Marvin Powell III, said, according to ESPN. Sweeney, who died Saturday, was a second-round pick of the Jets out of the University of Pittsburgh in the 1984 draft. His cause of death was not immediately released.
Powell was a five-time Pro Bowl selection at right tackle and helped the Jets reach the AFC Championship game during the 1982 season while blocking for quarterback Richard Todd. He was also named an All-Pro three times.
“Marvin was one of the best linemen I’ve ever seen,” former Jets wide receiver Wesley Walker said, according to NewYorkJets.com. “He was just a physical specimen. He was just good. I just loved him.”
Powell started 123 of the 124 games he played with the Jets. He ended his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986-87.
Sweeney, a Pittsburgh native, was a graduate of Seton LaSalle Catholic High School and played four seasons at Pitt, WPXI-TV reported. Sweeney played center when Dan Marino starred at quarterback for the Panthers, according to the television station.
He spent 11 seasons with the Jets and started 158 consecutive games on the offensive line. Sweeney played the 1995 season with the Seattle Seahawks and played his final four seasons in the NFL with the hometown Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Jim was a typical Pittsburgh guy. He was tough,” Marty Lyons, the Jets’ radio analyst who was Sweeney’s teammate from 1984 to 1989, told NewYorkJets.com. “He was tough to practice against every day. You could count on him every single Sunday. He had a different personality as soon as he crossed over the lines, though. Hard-nosed, tough-football player, a loving caring friend off the field.”
“Our entire Jets family is saddened to learn of the passing of longtime and outstanding Jets, Marvin Powell and Jim Sweeney,” Jets owner Woody Johnson tweeted. “We’re thinking of their families today.”
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