Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Eugene Marve, who died on Monday at age 60, closed out his career playing with Hall-of-Fame linebacker Junior Seau in San Diego.
Marve, who played for the Bucs from 1988 to 1991, joined the Chargers in 1992, early in Seau’s storied career. Marve played in all 16 games as a backup on the only postseason-bound team of his career. Seau, who died in 2012, was already emerging as a star at the time as Pro-Bowler and All-Pro when Marve played for the Chargers.
With the Bucs, Marve tallied 3.5 sacks, three fumble recoveries, and two interceptions in four seasons with the team. Marve, who wore jersey number 99 before Bucs Hall-of-Famer Warren Sapp, started in all 16 games for three straight seasons but started only four games in 1991. He arrived in Tampa in 1988 via a trade with the Buffalo Bills, which drafted him with the 59th pick in 1982.
The Flint, Michigan, native played college football at then-NAIA Saginaw Valley St. before becoming a third-round draft pick of the Bills. He played six years for the Bills and accumulated 4.5 sacks, five fumble recoveries, and an interception amid his 74 starts in 76 games played.
SVSU athletics announced news of his passing on Monday after being hospitalized. The cause of death wasn’t reported per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. Marve leaves behind his wife, Stacy, and children, Rebecca and Robert.
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Marve a Trailblazer for Small School
Marve called it an honor to play in the NFL during his Greater Flint Area Sports Hall of Fame induction speech in 1998 per MLive.com’s Brendan Savage.
“Sure, I would have liked to have had success with Buffalo when success came,” Marve said about being traded before the Bills’ 1990s string of Super Bowl appearances per Savage. “On the other hand, I have no regrets there. I feel very fulfilled and grateful to Buffalo to give me the opportunity to play six years. We played some great football. Our won-loss record wasn’t the best but having been able to be a National Football League player was a big honor for me.”
Marve got on the Bills’ draft radar after he tallied 299 tackles and nine sacks in his college career. He also earned NAIA All-American for 1980 and 1981.
“At the time, Eugene was one of the best athletes I had ever been associated with,” James Maher, a former teammate of Marve’s, shared with SVSU athletics. “He was a true leader with a tremendous work ethic and great integrity, both on and off the field. He was respectful of all his teammates, no matter their position or place on the team. He had this hallmark smile that would just light up any situation.”
Marve Gave Back to SVSU
Marve maintained ties with SVSU, earning his degree in criminal justice in 1995 and becoming a member of the college’s athletic hall of fame in 2010. He also returned as a guest speaker for the football program over the years and served as an assistant coach, per SVSU athletics.
“I will always remember the inspirational speech he delivered to the team in my first fall camp,” SVSU head coach Ryan Brady told SVSU athletics. “Also, he traveled with the team to Texas and served as team chaplain in my first game and first win at SVSU. I will forever cherish those moments and memories of prayer and football with Eugene. I feel blessed, fortunate, and grateful to have developed such a strong bond and relationship with Eugene in my short time as head football coach at SVSU.”
“The SVSU Football family is praying for his family, friends, and loved ones through this difficult time,” Brady added.