Mark Pike, former special teams ace for the Buffalo Bills in the 1990s died on Wednesday after COVID complications of his non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
According to CBS Sports, the 57-year-old Pike spent his entire NFL career with the Bills and was honored earlier this season with the team’s Crucial Catch honoree for their Week 4 game against the Houston Texans.
“A seventh-round pick out of Georgia Tech in the 1986 NFL Draft, Pike — listed as a defensive lineman — would become one of the greatest special teams players in the history of the Bills and an integral part of their dominant units of the 1990s,” CBS reported.
“On a special teams unit that starred the legendary Steve Tasker, Pike’s speed and ability to run combined with his size as a defensive lineman made him especially effective at running through blocks and making plays as part of Buffalo’s coverage units.”
Pike became the Bills’ all-time leader for their special teams with 255 tackles and was only the second in NFL history to make that number of tackles with Larry Izzo holding the record.
“It had been such a great privilege for me to have been his coach with the Buffalo Bills during the 1990’s 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,” read a statement by longtime Bills head coach Marv Levy.
“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 contracted COVID-19 and related pneumonia as a result of the infection and succumbed to the complications, combined with his ongoing fight against non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Pike is survived by his wife Sharon, two sons Ezekiel and Malachi, and daughter Kramer.