Buddy Ryan Dies At Age 85

The former Eagles head coach had been battling cancer for years.

Buddy Ryan. (USA Today Sports)

Buddy Ryan. (USA Today Sports)

Former NFL coach and defensive guru Buddy Ryan has died at the age of 85, his agent, James Solano, told NFL.com’s Conor Orr. The Eagles’ twitter account confirmed the news.

The two-time Super Bowl champion, who was the coordinator of the Bears’ legendary defense in 1985, had been battling cancer for years. After famously being carried off of the field by his players following Chicago’s Super Bowl XX victory, Ryan went on to be the head coach of the Eagles and Cardinals, accumulating a 55-55-1 record in his seven seasons. Ryan coached in the NFL for a total of 35 years.

“Buddy Ryan was arguably one of the greatest defensive masterminds in NFL history and forever left his mark on the Eagles organization and the city of Philadelphia,” Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “Over the last 20-plus years, I had the pleasure of discussing football with Buddy and I always came away from those conversations intrigued by his knowledge and passion for the game. On behalf of myself and the entire Eagles family, I’d like to offer our deepest condolences to the Ryan family.”

Doug Pederson added: “Buddy Ryan was one of the most creative and innovative defensive minds in the game of football. It was easy to sense his passion for the game and how much his players loved playing for him. His defensive philosophy remains a big part of the game today. He is a legend in our sport. My thoughts and prayers go out to Rex, Rob, Jim and the entire Ryan family.”