Former New York Jets players Marvin Powell and Jim Sweeney, stalwart offensive linemen in the 1970s and 1980s, died Friday and Saturday, respectively, the team announced Sunday.
Powell died of heart failure, according to his son, Marvin Powell III. Sweeney’s cause of death wasn’t immediately released.
Powell, who was 67, was a first-round pick in 1977 and a three-time All-Pro who played with the Jets through 1985. He played the final two years of his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Sweeney, who was 60, was a second-round pick in 1984 and started 158 consecutive games for the Jets, mostly at center. He was the Jets’ full-time center from 1988 to 1994 then finished his career with theSeattle Seahawks (1995) and Pittsburgh Steelers (1996-99). He grew up in Pittsburgh and attended Pitt, where he was Dan Marino’s center.
“Our entire Jets family is saddened to learn of the passing of longtime and outstanding Jets, Marvin Powell and Jim Sweeney,” Jets owner Woody Johnson tweeted. “We’re thinking of their families today.”
Powell, who lived in the Tampa, Florida, area, had lost touch with former teammates in recent years. Sweeney got into the coaching ranks. He coached collegiately at Duquesne (2000-02) and Albany (2014-21), serving as the offensive line coach at both schools.
“This is just shocking, to lose two former teammates like this, so close together,” former Jets wide receiver Wesley Walker, who played with both, told ESPN on Sunday morning.
“Marvin was my best friend when we played,” Walker said. “We were drafted together, and he was the best man at my wedding. He was very intelligent, just a physical specimen on the field but a teddy bear off it. A sweetheart of a guy.”
Walker called Sweeney “a very classy guy. He wasn’t flamboyant. He was a very durable, come-to-work kind of guy, the kind of guy you always had respect for.”
Powell is survived by four children, Marvin III, Jackson, Amerique and Veronique, and three grandchildren, Morgan, Josephine and Marvin IV.
Sweeney is survived by his wife, Julie, and their five children: Shannon, Liam, Aislinn, Kilian and Teagan.