Steelers saddened by Holmes death




Myron Cope wrote this about the 1976 game when Joe "Turkey" Jones spiked Terry Bradshaw into the turf at Cleveland Stadium:

"Afterward, at the Cleveland Airport, an ambulance carried Bradshaw onto the tarmac where all of us in the traveling party stood waiting for Terry to be transferred to the team's plane. He had been strapped to a so-called spine board, on which he lay as medics removed him from the ambulance. 'Let me have him,' Fats told them. He wrapped his mighty arms under the spine board, arched his broad back and alone lifted the big quarterback up the stairway into the plane. On instructions from team doctors, he gently carried Terry the length of the aisle to the plane's farthermost reaches where the arms of seats had been retracted to create a makeshift bed. Years later, when Fats Holmes returned to Pittsburgh for that 25th anniversary of the Steelers' first championship team, he told his teammates he loved them. He meant it."

* *

Ernie "Fats" Holmes, one of the anchors of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense in the 1970s, has died in a car crash. He was 59.

A dispatcher with the Texas Department of Public Safety said Holmes was driving alone Thursday night when his car left the roadway and rolled over several times near Lumberton, about 16 miles north of Beaumont in Southeast Texas.

The department said Friday that Holmes was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the car. He was pronounced dead at the scene, the DPS said. Holmes lived in Wiergate, Texas.

The two-time All-Pro played on two Super Bowl winning teams while with the Steelers from 1972-77. He spent the 1978 season with New England.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of Ernie Holmes," said Dan Rooney. "Ernie was one of the toughest players to ever wear a Steelers uniform. He was a key member of our famous Steel Curtain defense, and many people who played against him considered Ernie almost impossible to block. At his best, he was an intimidating player who even the toughest of opponents did not want to play against.

"Our prayers go out to Ernie's family and loved ones. He will be missed by the entire Steelers family. "

* *

Holmes finished his six-year career with 40 sacks, still eighth on the team's all-time list.

He had 11.5 sacks in 1974, including a stretch of six consecutive games with a sack, which ties him with Joe Greene and Greg Lloyd for the longest such streak in team history.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.