Holmes, Anchor in Steelers' 'Steel Curtain,' dies in car wreck

LUMBERTON, Texas -- Ernie Holmes, a two-time Super Bowl winner and an anchor of Pittsburgh's "Steel Curtain" defense, 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, an ordained minister, lived on a ranch in Wiergate, Texas. His death was first reported by Beaumont TV station KFDM.

The two-time All-Pro played for the Steelers from 1972-77, and spent part of the 1978 season with New England before retiring. He played on the same defensive line as "Mean" Joe Greene, L.C. Greenwood and Dwight White.

After football, Holmes had minor acting roles. He appeared in an episode of the 1980s TV show "The A-Team" and dabbled in professional wrestling.

"We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of Ernie Holmes," said Steelers chairman Dan Rooney in a statement. "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. "

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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Earl "Curly" Lambeau, 37, coach of Green Bay Packers of National Football League, poses in 1931, location unknown. (AP Photo)

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