Sad news out of the National Football League as the Philadelphia Eagles have announced the passing of Hall of Fame linebacker and center Chuck Bednarik. The Philadelphia great and former Eagles standout died as the result of an undisclosed illness at an assisted living facility in Richland, Pennsylvania. He was 89 years old. Survivors include his wife Emma with whom he enjoyed 67 years of marriage, five daughters; Charlene Thomas, Donna Davis, Carol Safarowic, Pam McWilliams, and Jackie Chelius, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
From the official Eagles press release:
A Philadelphia legend, Bednarik played a franchise-record 14 seasons with the Eagles from 1949-1962 and was part of two NFL Championship squads, in both 1949 and in 1960. One of the last two-way players in the NFL, Bednarik delivered a legendary performance in the 1960 NFL Championship Game, playing nearly every minute at both linebacker and center against the Green Bay Packers. With seconds remaining in the contest and Packers running back Jim Taylor headed for the end zone, Bednarik made a game-saving tackle and bear-hugged him to the ground as time ran out, preserving a 17-13 Eagles victory.
“With the passing of Chuck Bednarik, the Eagles and our fans have lost a legend. 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.”
“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. 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.”
“I have had the opportunity to spend time with Chuck Bednarik, who is truly one of the most unique players that this game has ever seen. The foundation of this organization and this league is built on the backs of past greats, with Chuck at the forefront. The way he played the game with an endless passion and tenacity helped establish the standard of excellence that this organization stands for; one that we strive to achieve each and every day.”
Bednarik played in the era when football wasn’t a full time job and earned the nickname “Concrete Charlie” from his offseason job as a concrete salesman for the Warner Company. A veteran who also served in World War II where he flew 30 missions as a B-24 waist gunner, Bednarik was awarded the Air Medal as a result of his service. He would go on to play college football at the University of Pennsylvania where he twice earned All American Honors before being drafted by the Eagles with the number one overall selection in the 1949 NFL Draft.
Bednarik played his entire career for the Eagles where he earned eight Pro Bowl nominations as well as eight All-Pro selections. A first ballot Hall of Famer, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 1967. His number 60 jersey is one of only nine numbers to be retired by the Eagles.
Join us in sending condolences to the Eagles organization and to Bednarik’s family.
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