Steve Furness at Pittsburgh Steelers training camp
December 5, 1950|
Providence, Rhode Island, United States
|Died:||February 9, 2000
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
|Height||6 ft 4 in (193 cm)|
|Weight||255 lb (116 kg)|
|High school||Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, Rhode Island)|
|NFL draft||1972 / Round: 5 / Pick: 113|
|Drafted by||Pittsburgh Steelers|
|1982–1990||Michigan State (defensive line coach)|
|1991||Indianapolis Colts (defensive line coach)|
|1992–1993||Pittsburgh Steelers (defensive line coach)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Honors||Univ. of Rhode Island Athletic Hall of Fame inductee (1987)|
|Opponent's fumbles recovered||8|
Stephen Robert "Steve" Furness (December 5, 1950 – February 9, 2000) was an American defensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Detroit Lions of the National Football League, and a member of the Steelers' famed Steel Curtain defense. He earned four Super Bowl rings as a professional player and ranks 12th on the Steelers' all-time sack list. He was of English and Armenian descent.
Furness grew up in Warwick, Rhode Island, where he attended Bishop Hendricken High School before accepting a football scholarship to the University of Rhode Island. In addition to being a star football player for URI, he excelled at the hammer throw and turned down an invitation to the 1972 Olympic Trials to attend the Steelers' training camp. Furness was selected in the fifth round of the 1972 NFL Draft and initially served as a backup to Joe Greene and Ernie Holmes before replacing Holmes as defensive tackle in 1977. He started in Super Bowl XIII and was primarily known for his skills as a pass rusher, leading the team in quarterback sacks during several seasons with the Steelers. He collected 32 sacks over the course of his Steelers career. He was also an avid weight lifter and placed fourth in the 1980 'Strongest Man in Football' competition, which aired on CBS.  He rejoined the NFL in 1991 as an assistant coach for the Indianapolis Colts before returning to the Steelers for his final two years as a defensive line coach (1992–1993). In 1999, he was named as one of the "50 Greatest Rhode Island Sports Figures" of the 20th Century by Sports Illustrated magazine, earning the 14th spot on the list.
Furness died unexpectedly of a heart attack on February 9, 2000. He is survived by two sons, Zaban and Zack Furness, a professor at Penn State University.
- Big Night, Shaun Assael, ESPN, The Magazine, January 21, 2003, accessed 2009-02-11
- Stephen Furness profile, GoRhody.com (accessed online 2009-02-11)
- "SI.com - SI 50th - Rhode Island - The 50 Greatest Rhode Island Sports Figures - Wednesday July 09, 2003 04:11 PM". Sportsillustrated.cnn.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
- "Souls who enriched our lives, our region". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. December 1, 2002. Retrieved 2009-02-11.
- "Rhode Island". Gorhody.cstv.com. Retrieved 2012-09-30.
- "50 Greatest Rhode Island Sports Figures," Sports Illustrated, December 7, 1999, accessed 3/31/08
- University of Rhode Island Official Athletic Site
- Statistics at databasefootball.com
- Death notice, infoplease.com
- Souls who enriched our lives, our region, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Dec. 1, 2002, accessed 12/07/2006
- Zack Furness, "My Dad Kicked Ass For a Living," Bad Subjects, Issue #57, October, 2001, accessed 3/31/08