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Mike Lucci

Football ∙ Ambridge

 

 

 

 

Local Pittsburgh Steelers fans are so used to seeing great linebackers that there is a tendency to forget that one of the top players at that position came from Ambridge: Mike Lucci, who played three seasons with the Cleveland Browns and nine with the Detroit Lions. Joe Schmitt, the former University of Pittsburgh All American who was Mike’s coach with the Lions at the time, described Mike as “the best linebacker in the NFL in 1969.” Coming from Schmitt, that was high praise. Mike was a late bloomer at Ambridge High School, where he didn’t go out for football until his senior year. After one year at Pitt, he transferred to the University of Tennessee, where he was named to the Southwest Conference All Star team in 1960 and 1961, received honorable mention on the 1961 United Press International All America team, and played in the 1962 College All Star game in Chicago. In the pros, Mike played three seasons with the Cleveland Browns, including 1964 when they beat Baltimore, 27-0 for the NFL title, then was traded to Detroit after the season. During his nine seasons with the Lions, he was the team’s most valuable player for three straight years (1969-1971), was named defensive captain, and played in the 1971 Pro Bowl game. After his football career, Mike resided in Detroit, where he was vice president of a health spa chain.