Holmes, an ordained minister, was traveling alone on Highway 69 when his SUV crashed and rolled Thursday night, KFDM-TV in Beaumont reported.
"We are deeply saddened to learn of the sudden and untimely death of Ernie Holmes," said Dan Rooney, Pittsburgh Steelers owner. "Ernie was one of the toughest players to ever wear a Steelers uniform. He was a key member of our famous Steel Curtain defense, and many people who played against him considered Ernie almost impossible to block. "
Holmes, nicknamed "Fats," a two-time NFL all-pro player, lived at Weirgate in Newton County, Texas, the report said.
The big lineman played for the Steelers from 1972 to 1977 and for a season with the New England Patriots in 1978. He was on Super Bowl-winning teams in 1975 and 1976.
"Oh, Ernie was definitely an enforcer," Greene told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.