March 21, 2015 - Aaron Wilson
Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik dies at age 89
NFL Hall of Fame middle linebacker Chuck Bednarik died at age 89 today, the Philadelphia Eagles announced. Bednarik was nicknamed "Concrete Charlie." He was the throwback tough-guy linebacker who doubled as a center. Bednarik died at an assisted living facility in Pennsylvania. He hit Frank Gifford so hard that the New York Giants running back was out for two seasons. "With the passing of Chuck Bednarik, the Eagles and our fans have lost a legend," Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "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.” Added Eagles coach Chip Kelly: “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.”
Born on May 1, 1925, in Bethlehem, PA, Bednarik played football at the University of Pennsylvania after serving in World War II, where he flew 30 missions as a B-24 waist gunner and was awarded the Air Medal. Bednarik went on to earn All-America honors in his final two seasons at Penn and was selected by the Eagles with the first overall choice in the 1949 NFL draft. Since 1995, the Maxwell Football Club annually gives out the “Chuck Bednarik Award” to college football’s best defensive player.
Bednarik is survived by Emma, his wife of 67 years, five daughters; Charlene Thomas, Donna Davis, Carol Safarowic, Pam McWilliams, and Jackie Chelius, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun