Mark Pike, a linebacker, defensive end and special teams player for the Buffalo Bills, has died. He was 57.
The Bills website announced that the NFL star died Wednesday after a battle with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, adding that he recently was diagnosed with COVID-19 and pneumonia.
In the statement — which described Pike as one of the "top standouts on the Bills special teams coverage units" of the 1990s — the athlete was also noted as the franchise's all-time leading special teams tackler with 255 career takedowns over his time with the Bills, from 1986 to 1998.
He suited up for 173 games with the Buffalo Bills, and led the Bills in special teams tackles in seven of the last eight years he played for the team.
Steve Tasker, one of Pike's longest-tenured teammates, said on the Bills website that the late athlete was "a unique specimen. His ability to run and play special teams with his versatility was unbelievable."
"He was a big man who played special teams which was a matchup nightmare for our opponents," Tasker said, adding that the 6'4" athlete was a "bulldozer" and "an absolute freight train."
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Marv Levy, who coached Pike for 11 years, said "it had been such a great privilege," according to the Bills' announcement, adding, "Mark had been such an integral part in contributing to the success our teams enjoyed during our four trips to those Super Bowl games and beyond" in the 1990s.
"Mark was not only an outstanding defensive lineman, linebacker, and special teams standout, but he was the epitome of all that I had ever hoped our players would be like," he said.
"Mark epitomized the high character that we valued so greatly and was the hallmark of our teams," added Buffalo Bills general manager Bill Polian.
"He gave one hundred percent effort on every play and that same commitment to charitable and community endeavors off the field. There was never a better role model as a player and a person than Mark."
The site said Pike recently attended the Bills' Week 4 home game against Houston this fall while ill, in order to serve as the club's Crucial Catch honoree — part of the NFL's program to fight cancer through early detection and risk reduction.
Pike is survived by his wife Sharon, two sons Ezekiel and Malachi, and daughter Kramer. Ezekiel, or Zeke, has played football as a tight end for the Louisville Cardinals.
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