Hall of Fame running back Steve Van Buren dies

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The Philadelphia Eagles announced that Hall of Fame running back Steve Van Buren died. He was 91.

Van Buren was a key player on the Eagles back-to-back championship teams in 1948-49 after being a first-round draft pick out of LSU in 1944. He was nicknamed “Wham-Bam” for his running style and led the league in rushing four times.

On the field and off, as a player, a leader and a man, Steve Van Buren embodied the finest characteristics of our city and our sport,” said Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie in a statement on the team’s Web site. “He was a friend and an inspiration to generations of fans, and the model of what an Eagle should be.”

Van Buren, who died of pneumonia, was survived by three daughters.

A five-time All-Pro pick, he finished his career with 5,860 yards and 77 touchdowns. He was the first Eagles player selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was the NFL’s leading rusher when he retired in 1951.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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