Former Jets Player, Analyst, Sam DeLuca Dies at 75

Sam DeLuca¬†spanned two generations of¬†New York Jets fans–first as a player, then as a broadcaster. The New York Post reports¬†DeLuca died yesterday of pancreatic cancer.¬†He was 75.

DeLuca spent three years during the mid 1960s as an offensive guard. However, his career was cut short in 1967 when he suffered a knee injury in a preseason game.

The unfortunate incident¬†did¬†provide good¬†timing for DeLuca’s next profession.

A¬†strike by the¬†American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (AFTRA) led to a¬†two-week “audition” calling Jet games on WABC Radio.

He remained with play by play man Merle Harmon through the 1972 season.
After a stint doing regional NFL action for NBC, DeLuca was back in the Jets radio booth, this time teaming up with veteran broadcaster Spencer Ross in 1979.  That association lasted until 1985.

“He was so prepared,” Ross told the Post. “No bull, no stats. He just let you know what was going on and he knew when to get out.”

DeLuca’s final season calling Jets game was¬†in 1986¬†alongside, now Dodgers play-by-play radio voice, Charley Steiner.¬†

Deluca, who grew up in Brooklyn, graduated from Lafayette High School where he was friends with Dodger great Sandy Koufax and Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon.

Funeral services for DeLuca are scheduled for Saturday in Pelham.

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