Former Buffalo Bills special teams star Mark Pike dead at 57

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Mark Pike, a defensive lineman who was a special teams star for the Buffalo Bills during his 13-year NFL career, died Wednesday from non-Hodgkins lymphoma, the team announced Wednesday. He was 57.

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Pike recently had complications related to a COVID-19 infection and pneumonia, according to ESPN.

Pike, who was drafted in the seventh round out of Georgia Tech in 1986, missed his rookie season with a shoulder injury, The Buffalo News reported. But after that, he played 173 regular-season games with the Bills and played in 20 postseason games, including all four of the franchise’s Super Bowl appearances, according to the newspaper.

“He was a big man who played special teams, which was a matchup nightmare for our opponents,” former teammate Steve Tasker, told the Bills’ official website. “He was a unique specimen. His ability to run and play special teams with his versatility was unbelievable.”

Pike is the Bills’ all-time leader in special teams tackles, WKBW reported. His 255 special teams stops are second only to Larry Izzo, who had 298, the News reported. He led the team in special teams tackles in seven of his final eight seasons.

“He was a freaking bulldozer, man,” Tasker told the Bills’ website. “He was an absolute freight train.”

Marv Levy, who coached Pike for 11 years in Buffalo, said it was a “great privilege” to work with the 6-foot-4, 272-pounder.

“It had been such a great privilege for me to have been his coach with the Buffalo Bills during the 1990s, when 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,” Levy, 96, told the Bills’ website. “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.”

Pike is survived by his wife, Sharon, their two sons, Ezekiel and Malachi, and their daughter, Kramer, according to the News.