Road Warrior Animal Dead: Former NFL Star James Laurinaitis Speaks out on Father's Passing

The WWE Universe lost a legend on Wednesday as Joe Laurinaitis died at the age of 60. Many former and current pro wrestlers paid tribute to the man known as Road Warrior Animal, but one of the most touching tributes came from his son. Former NFL linebacker James Laurinaitis took to Instagram to share a message for his father alongside photos of the WWE legend over the years.

"I don't have the right words to say," James Laurinaitis wrote in the post. "I'm absolutely crushed. I miss you already. I hate that I wasn’t able to say goodbye. Say hello to Mum Mum, Pop Pop, and Hawk for me. Thank you for your love and support and the many lessons you’ve taught me. I can't believe you're gone. I love you Dad." Former WWE and NFL stars sent messages to James after reading the post.

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"So sorry for your loss," Brie Bella wrote. "Sending love and prayers to you and the family." Nikki Bella also sent a message to the former St. Louis (now Los Angeles) Rams star, writing: "So incredibly sorry James. Thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Your father was such an incredible man. Always lit up the room. Sending lots of love and light your way."

Joe Laurinaitis was also supportive of his son's football career. After Joe's death, a video emerged on Twitter where James is introduced by his father during an Ohio State game. James was a standout player for the Buckeyes as he was the winner of the Lott Trophy, Butkus Award and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy.

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After college, James was drafted by the Rams in the second round in 2009. He played for the Rams for seven years before joining the Saints in 2016. James announced his retirement from the league in April 2017. During his eight-year career. He played in 117 games and collected 871 tackles 16.5 sacks and 10 interceptions. His best season was in 2012 when he posted 117 solo tackles and two picks. His 117 solo tackles led the NFL that season.

As for James' father, he was one-half of the famous tag team The Road Warriors, but they were known as the Legion of Doom during their time in WWE. His tag team partner, Road Warrior Hawk (real name was Michael Hegstrand) died at the age of 46 in 2003.