Stewart mourns former teammate's death

OWINGS MILLS - Baltimore Ravens backup quarterback Kordell Stewart was saddened to learn of the death of former Pittsburgh Steelers teammate Justin Strzelczyk.

Strzelczyk, 36, died in a fiery, head-on collision Thursday with a tanker trunk carrying corrosive acid after leading New York state troopers on a 40-mile chase.

"It's a tragic situation," Stewart said. "Justin was a really good guy. He used to watch my back when I was a young pup in this league. I'm shocked and my heart goes out to his family."

Strzelczyk played offensive tackle for Steelers coaches Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher from 1990 to 1999. He was involved in a minor traffic accident prior to his fiery crash where he left the scene in his pickup truck.

He eventually crashed into a tanker after driving 15 miles on three tires and a rim after metal spikes thrown onto the road by troopers to try to stop him punctured one of his pickup's tires.

"He was going down the road, flipping off the troopers," a police spokesman told the Associated Press. "He even threw a beer bottle at them."

The retired lineman's mother told the Buffalo News her son may have suffered from mood disorders.

Strzelczyk was known as a free spirit and a hard-nosed blocker for running back Jerome Bettis and Stewart.

Stewart said the long-haired, bearded former lineman used to spit, vomit and urinate on himself in the huddle between snaps.

"Justin was a wild, crazy guy," Stewart said. "He didn't want to leave the field so he would do his business on himself. We used to look at him like, "What's wrong with you?,' but that was just him. He'll be missed."

Aaron Wilson writes for the Carroll County Times.
 


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