Philadelphia: Chuck Bednarik, a 1950s offensive and defensive NFL star for the Philadelphia Eagles, died Saturday morning at age 89 following a brief illness, the team announced.
The American Football Hall of Fame player was among the last two-way NFL players, handling center duties when the Eagles had the ball and a linebacker role on the defensive side.
Bednarik, the top pick in the 1949 NFL Draft from the nearby University of Pennsylvania, played a club-record 14 seasons with the Eagles from 1949-1962 and helped them claim NFL titles in 1949 and 1960.
"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."
Bednarik was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1967, his first eligible season, and his jersey number, 60, is among nine retired by the Eagles. In 169 career games, Bednarik made 20 interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
"I have had the opportunity to spend time with Chuck Bednarik, who is truly one of the most unique players this game has ever seen," Eagles coach Chip Kelly said.
"The way he played the game with an endless passion and tenacity helped establish the standard of excellence this organization stands for, one we strive to achieve each and every day."