September 27, 2010
Anthony Cesario, the former CSU All-American, Rams Hall of Famer and NFL player, who passed away tragically Saturday night at age 34, will be honored at a funeral Friday. The 10 a.m. service will take place at the Massari Arena on the CSU-Pueblo campus in Cesario's hometown, 2200 Bonforte Blvd.
For the second time in a five-month span, the CSU football program has lost a former All-American. Anthony Cesario passed away Saturday night.
Cesario, who was only 34, had just finished a day of hunting near Steamboat Springs, Colo., when he experienced possible heart-related issues. His tragic death came on the day the CSU athletic department honored another fallen All-American, Keli McGregor, who also died far too young on April 20, due to a virus that attacked his heart.
“I don’t think there are very many people in our football program or in our building that did not know Anthony Cesario,” said Head Coach Steve Fairchild, the Rams’ offensive coordinator during Cesario’s junior and senior years, 1997-98. “Our most sincere condolences go out to his parents, Anthony and Sylvia, and the rest of their family. We get so caught up in football sometimes, tunnel vision, that we don’t always realize how truly precious life is. Something like this really affects you. Anthony was a Ram to his core. When he was a player here, he helped us establish that power run game that became our identity, and it’s still the identity we want to have in 2010. After he played in the NFL, he was always around our program, at our golf tournaments and other events we have every year. He cared deeply about Colorado State and wanted us to be successful. We will really miss him.”
Saturday’s win was dedicated to the memory of McGregor, just hours before the program learned of the Cesario tragedy. Cesario is survived by his parents and sister. He was single and did not have children.
A 6-foot-6, 310-pound guard from Pueblo, Colo., Cesario was destined for stardom even before he stepped on the field at Colorado State. He was named first-team all-conference as a senior at Pueblo South High School, and earned two varsity letters in football and three in track.
As a sophomore in 1996, he started to blossom into one of the best offensive linemen in school history. That year, his first as a starter, he played in all 12 games and was named second-team all-Western Athletic Conference.
As the 1997 season approached, expectations were high for Cesario; not only from his teammates and coaches, but from the fans as well. He didn’t disappoint. Cesario was named the top offensive guard in the nation by The Sporting News in 1997 after he led his team to an 11-2 record and a Holiday Bowl appearance, where he helped defeat the Missouri Tigers, 35-24. As a starter in all 12 games, Cesario had a team-best 64 pancake blocks and graded out at 91.3 percent. In that same year he did not allow a single quarterback sack. Cesario was also named first-team all-conference and second-team All-America, and was a nominee for the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the best offensive lineman in the nation.
After such an amazing junior year, Cesario was named as a 1998 preseason nominee for the Lombardi Award, presented to the most outstanding offensive or defensive lineman in the country, and would later that year become one of 12 finalists for the award. In his final season as a Ram, 1998, Cesario once again started in all 12 games, bringing his total to 37 consecutive games as a starter. To opposing defenses, he was a brick wall for two straight years, as he allowed no quarterback sacks. Cesario was named first-team all-WAC for the second year in a row and was named first-team All-America for his position at offensive guard. He helped his team to an 8-5 record and recorded more than 70 “big blocks,” breaking his own single-season record.
With three solid seasons at CSU, Cesario entered the 1998 NFL Draft with high expectations. He was selected in the third round by the Jacksonville Jaguars as the 88th pick overall.
Cesario was a member of the Jaguars team that advanced to the AFC title game in 1999. He also spent time with the Miami Dolphins before injuries cut short his NFL career.
A Fort Collins resident, he returned to the area after his pro career and owned a successful local business, Workzone Traffic Control, Inc., assisting local agencies with road construction.
Contact: Zak Gilbert
Phone: (970) 491-5067