Former New York Jets offensive linemen Marvin Powell and Jim Sweeney died this week. The cause of death has not yet been made public. According to online reports, Jim Sweeney had no prior history of illness or deteriorating health.
During his 11-year NFL career, Powell was a three-time All-Pro at right tackle and served as president of the NFL Players Association for two years.
Sweeney started with the team in 158 consecutive games over an 11-year span, mainly at the centre. Sweeney was 60 at the time of his death.
The two played with the Jets during the 1984 and ’85 seasons.
“Marvin was one of the best linemen I’ve ever seen,” former Jets WR Wesley Walker told the team website upon hearing of Powell’s passing. “He was just a physical specimen. He was just good. I just loved him.”
“Jim was a typical Pittsburgh guy,” former teammate and current team radio analyst Marty Lyons told the team’s website. “He was tough — 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.”
“Signing off from Acrisure Stadium with one last thought: A crazy day. An emotional day. Received texts from former #Jets expressing shock and sadness upon hearing the news of Jim Sweeney’s passing. Fitting his old team won a game only a couple of miles from where he grew up.” Statement by ESPN NFL Nation reporter Rich Cimini.
“Powell did, tragically. Marvin was before my time, but I had a chance to cover Jim and have maintained relationships with players from that era.” He added.
“So sad to hear of passing of Jim Sweeney, former great Pitt OLineman who played more than decade in NFL. Sweeney was on memorable 1979 Seton LaSalle team that won school’s 1st WPIAL title. Tom Donahoe was coach and Greg Gattuso also on that team.” Statement by Mike White (Post-Gazette sports writer)
Sweeney leaves behind his wife Julie and five children: Shannon, Liam, Aislinn, Kilian, and Teagan.