Re: Steel Curtain lost a link
[size=16pt]Ernie Holmes, member of Steel Curtain, dies in car wreck at 59[/size]
By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer
January 18, 2008
Ernie Holmes, defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, goes for the camera during a picture session prior to the teams workout for the Super Bowl in New Orleans, in this Jan. 8, 1975 file photo. Holmes, one of the anchors of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense in the 1970s, died in a car crash Thursday night Jan. 17, 2008 in Lumberton, Texas. He was 59. (AP Photo, file)
AP - Jan 18, 10:56 am EST
Ernie Holmes settled into a quiet life as a preacher in rural Texas after his "stone crazy" days with Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defenses.
Holmes, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Steelers, died Thursday night after his car left a road and rolled several times near Lumberton, about 80 miles from Houston, a Texas Department of Public Safety dispatcher said. He was 59.
Holmes, driving alone and not wearing a seat belt, was ejected and died at the scene, the department said.
The Steelers remembered him as a devastating and intimidating force on a defense full of them. He also had his moments off the field.
Holmes told Time magazine in 1975 that he was "stone crazy," mostly because of a case early in his career when he pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon following a bizarre episode in which he fired a pistol at trucks and a police helicopter. He was sentenced to five years' probation.
"Ernie was an original. He was out there," said former Steelers receiver Lynn Swann, a teammate on Super Bowl-winning teams following the 1974 and '75 seasons. "In today's environment, he may have spent a few hours in the commissioner's office."
Nicknamed "Fats" for most of his life, Holmes played for the Steelers from 1972-77 before being released because of ongoing weight problems and spent part of the 1978 season with New England before retiring.
He was part of a famous front four that included "Mean" Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood and Dwight White.
"Ernie was one of the toughest players to ever wear a Steelers uniform," Steelers chairman Dan Rooney said in a statement. "At his best, he was an intimidating player who even the toughest of opponents did not want to play against."
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