Former New York Jets forwards Marvin Powell and Jim Sweeney died this week, the team announced Sunday.
Powell was a three-time All-Pro at right tackle and served as president of the NFL players association for two years during his 11-year NFL career, the first nine with the Jets. He died Friday, the Jets said. Powell was 67 years old.
Sweeney was one of the Jets’ most durable players, starting 158 consecutive games during an 11-year stint with the team, mostly at center. He died Saturday, the Jets said. Sweeney was 60.
The two were teammates with the Jets during the 1984 and ’85 seasons.
Powell, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame, was selected by the Jets as the No. 4 overall pick in 1977 out of USC. He earned a starting job as a rookie and became one of the franchise’s best and most decorated players, being selected to the Pro Bowl five straight seasons from 1979-83. Powell was an All-Pro in 1979, ’81 and ’82.
Powell was also voted the Jets MVP by his teammates in 1979.
“Marvin was one of the best linemen I’ve ever seen,” former Jets wide receiver Wisley Walker told the team’s website. “He was just a physical specimen. He was just good. I just loved him.”
Powell played his final two seasons with Tampa Bay, finishing with 130 starts in 133 games.
Powell was also one of the league’s most respected players while serving as a players union representative, then was elected vice president of the NFLPA before serving as president for two years. The Fort Bragg, North Carolina native worked as an intern at the New York Stock Exchange and earned his law degree from New York Law School in 1987.
Powell’s son Marvin III played nine games at fullback for New Orleans in 1999.
Sweeney was a second-round pick out of Pittsburgh — where he was Dan Marino’s center — in 1984 and started two games as a rookie. The Pittsburgh native started every game at left guard in his sophomore season, then moved to left tackle for two seasons before becoming the Jets’ center in 1988 — a role he held for seven years.
His versatility and toughness made him one of the team’s most valuable players. It also earned him the respect of teammates and opponents.
“Jim was a quintessential Pittsburgh guy,” former teammate and current team radio analyst Marty Lyons told the team’s website. “He was tough — he was tough in practice every day. You could count on him every Sunday.
“He had a different personality once he crossed the lines, though. Tough, tough footballer, a tender, loving friend off the pitch.”
Sweeney started every game for Seattle in 1995 and finished his 16-year career playing four seasons with the hometown Steelers. He played in 228 games, including 176 starts
Sweeney got into coaching after his playing days, serving as an assistant at Duquesne and Albany. He was also a high school assistant in suburban Pittsburgh for eight years.
Sweeney is survived by his wife Julie and their five children: Shannon, Liam, Aislinn, Kilian and Teagan.
Copyright Associated Press 2022