Eagles Lose a Legend: Bednarik Dies At 89

Chuck Bednarik. David Boss/USA Today

Chuck Bednarik. David Boss/USA Today

The Eagles lost one of their all-time greats this morning, as Chuck Bednarik died at the age of 89 at an assisted living facility in Richland, Pa.

“With the passing of Chuck Bednarik, the Eagles and our fans have lost a legend,” said owner Jeffrey Lurie 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.”

Added 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.”

And president Don Smolenski: “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.”

Bednarik played 14 seasons with the Eagles from 1949 to 1962. He was part of two championship squads in 1949 and 1960.

Nicknamed Concrete Charlie, Bednarik earned eight Pro Bowl nominations and made eight All-Pro teams. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967, the first year he was eligible. Bednarik’s No. 60 was retired by the Eagles and will never be worn by another player.

Born in Bethlehem, Pa., Bednarik played at Penn after serving in World War II, where he flew 30 missions as a B-24 waist gunner and was awarded the Air Medal.

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.