The NFL world lost one of its greats.
Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Baltimore Colts defensive end Gino Marchetti died Monday night at the age of 93.
Marchetti played 14 seasons, all but one of them with the Colts. He was named the top defensive end of the NFL’s first 50 years, was selected for a then-record 11 straight Pro Bowl appearances and earned nine consecutive appointments from 1956-64 on the all-NFL team.
He was drafted No. 2 overall in 1952 by the Dallas Texans, who folded after one season. The expansion Colts were awarded the Texans’ players.
“He revolutionized the way you play that position in the NFL,” Hall of Fame head coach Don Shula said of Marchetti, whom he coached for three seasons in Baltimore.
Marchetti was known for being one of the first dominant pass rushers as the NFL evolved and passing offenses became more popular and commonplace.
In 1994, he was selected to the NFL 75th Anniversary All-Time Team, joining defensive ends Deacon Jones and Reggie White. Marchetti was enshrined in the Hall of Fame in the class of 1972.
“Gino Marchetti dominated the football field during his career in the 1950s and ‘60s as a leader of the great Baltimore Colts teams of that era,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said Tuesday in a statement. “His ferocious style of play defined the character of a man who possessed a strong desire to succeed, passion, and determination that made him a great teammate. Those same traits made him a highly successful business leader after his playing days. The legacy of Gino Marchetti’s well-lived life will forever be preserved in Canton, Ohio to serve as inspiration to future generations of fans.”
The Pro Football Hall of Fame said its flag in its campus would be flown at half-staff until Marchetti is laid to rest.
The Baltimore Sun reported that Marchetti died of pneumonia at Paoli Hospital in Paoli, Pennsylvania.
“A giant of a man with a giant heart who helped many in need, Gino Marchetti is at or near the top of the greats in Baltimore athletic and football history,” the Ravens said Tuesday in a statement. “Beloved in Baltimore, this Pro Football Hall of Famer loved our community and the fans who were so special to him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Joan, and the Marchetti family. We appreciate the kindness and respect Gino showed the Ravens over the last 23 years.”