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Chuck Bednarik
 
Chuck Bednarik
  • Pos:
    Center-Linebacker
  • HT:
    6'3"
  • WT:
    233
  • College(s)
    Pennsylvania
  • Yrs w/Teams
    1949-1962 Philadelphia Eagles
 

Biography

No National Football League player in the 1950s was immune to bone-jarring contact with the Philadelphia Eagles' Chuck Bednarik because the 233-pounder played on both the offensive and defensive units long after the two-way player had largely faded from the scene.

Bednarik didn’t really get into football until he returned from World War II (after a 30-mission tour as a B-24 waist gunner with the Army Air Corps that saw him win the Air Medal). He showed up unheralded at the University of Pennsylvania, where he went on to win All-America honors as a center his last two seasons.

Chuck was selected first overall in the 1949 NFL Draft as the Eagles' bonus draft choice and earned a starter’s spot as a center on offense and linebacker on defense. As an offensive center, big Chuck was a bulldozing blocker, both on rushing and passing plays. On defense, he was a true scientist in his field and the kind of tackler who could literally stop even the finest enemy runners "on a dime."

In 1950, Bednarik received All-NFL recognition as a center. Although he frequently played both offense and defense right up through the 1956 season, it was as a bone-jarring linebacker that he drew the most attention. He was named All-NFL as a linebacker 1951 through 1957 and again in 1960.

His athletic abilities and inspirational play was particularly evident in 1960 when injuries forced the Eagles to ask their 12-year veteran to again play both sides of the line. The 35-year-old was sensational. He finished the campaign with a 58-minute performance, capped by a game-saving tackle in the Eagles' NFL championship victory over Green Bay. With just seconds remaining, the Packers' Jim Taylor appeared to be heading for a winning touchdown until the last Eagle in his path, Bednarik, bear-hugged him to the ground as time ran out.

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