Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik dies
Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik died at the age of 89 early Saturday morning.
Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik died at the age of 89 early Saturday morning after battling an illness at his assisted-living facility, the team announced.
Bednarik played 14 seasons as both a linebacker and center, winning a pair of NFL Championships with the Eagles in 1949 and 1960.
Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967, Bednarik's number 60 was retired by the Eagles and his name is honored by the Maxwell Club with the Bednarik Award given annually to the best defensive player in college football.
"Pros like myself played football not for money or glory, but for the simplest reason: the love of the game." - R.I.P. Chuck Bednarik— Bednarik Award (@BednarikAward) March 21, 2015
"With the passing of Chuck Bednarik, the Eagles and our fans have lost a legend," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. "Philadelphia fans grow up expecting toughness, all-out effort and a workmanlike attitude from this team and so much of that image has its roots in the way Chuck played the game. He was a Hall of Famer, a champion and an all-time Eagle. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones during this time."
Bednarik was an All-Pro eight times in his 12-year career and also managed to embody the blue-collar spirit of Philly -- he was nicknamed "Concrete Charlie" because he worked as a concrete salesman in the offseason.
He was a throwback NFL player. Bednarik fought in World War II and flew 30 missions as a B-24 waist gunner. He then played at the University of Pennsylvania well enough to be the first-overall pick in the 1949 NFL Draft.
Bednarik was also known for delivering massive hits (gonna throw out a guess that he didn't like today's rules quite as much), including a legendary shot on Giants player Frank Gifford during the 1960 NFL season that knocked Gifford out of football for 18 months.
"So many of the timeless moments in Eagles history are associated with Chuck Bednarik. He played his entire career in Philadelphia, college and pro, and he lived his entire life here and in the Lehigh Valley," Dan Smolenski, Eagles President said. "He was a proud competitor and a dedicated and devout family man who loved Eagles fans as much as they loved him. He left his mark on this team and will forever be a legend within this organization."
Bednarik is survived by his wife Emma, five daughters, 10 grandchildren and one great grandchild.
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