March 25, 2015 | by Mark McDonald
Goodbye to a Favorite

Penn’s Chuck Bednarik Dies at 89

By Bo Carter
College Football Insider,

We lost one of the all-time greats in college and pro football over the weekend with the passing of Chuck “Concrete” Bednarik of Penn and the Philadelphia Eagles.

Chuck Bednarik was the last of a breed – a pro footballer who played both offense and defense. (photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

Chuck Bednarik was the last of a breed – a pro footballer who played both offense and defense. (photos courtesy of Wikipedia)

As an 8-year-old, one of my favorite memories of the NFL was the 1960 NFL championship game when the feisty Philadelphia Eagles and Bednarik upended the Green Bay Packers 17-13 on Dec. 26, 1960. The television announcers also were both Hall of Famers – Lindsey Nelson and Ray Scott – for NBC.

Chuck Bednarik, who starred at Pennsylvania from 1945-48 as a future NFF College Hall of Fame center and linebacker and later with the Philadelphia Eagles from 1949-61, passed away last Saturday in Coopersburg, Pa. Had was 89. Bednarik was a hero long before he reached Franklin field at Penn as a 20-year-old veteran of World War II and a highly-decorated aerial gunner with 30 combat missions over Germany to his credit. The 6-3, 220-pound Bednarik proved just as devastating on the gridiron.

In a day when the rules allowed for free substitution, Bednarik remained a 60-minute player, operating at center and linebacker. As a senior in 1948, Bednarik won the Maxwell Award, symbolic of the top collegiate player in America. His performance prompted the Philadelphia Eagles to make him their No. 1 draft choice.

When he retired from the NFL in 1962, he had been honored with two All-America awards as a collegian, eight All-Pro awards with the Eagles and world championships in 1949 and 1960. He retired as pro-football’s last two-way player.

In 1969 he was voted by a panel of sportswriters, coaches and hall of fame players as “The Greatest Center of All-Time” in both the college and professional ranks. He was known as “Concrete Chuck” Bednarik for his tough tackling and as a concrete salesman to make ends meet during the NFL offseason before the era of million-dollar contracts.

At 6-3, 220 pounds, Chuck Bednarik was a bean stalk compared to today’s centers and linebackers. These days he would look more at home in a high school locker room.

At 6-3, 220 pounds, Chuck Bednarik was a bean stalk compared to today’s centers and linebackers. These days he would look more at home in a high school locker room.


NFF College Hall of Fame Facts

Earl Campbell, impossible to stop as a running back, finds it impossible to stop the clock. He turns 60 on March 29.

Earl Campbell, impossible to stop as a running back, finds it impossible to stop the clock. He turns 60 on March 29.

Football fodder: Birthday greets to Earl Campbell. The Tyler Rose, whose running style with the Texas Longhorns and Houston Oilers defied his nickname, unimaginably turns 60 on March 29.

Brigham Young and Mississippi State have inked a two-year contract to play in 2016 and ’17… Several other SEC teams plan to add Notre Dame and BYU as designated Power Five level opposition in future seasons…Pittsburgh and Tennessee will face off in a two-game series in 2012 and ’22…Ball State and Notre Dame will meet in 2018…Appalachian neighbors Marshall and West Virginia are considering resuming talks about a future all-time series…Rice and UTEP become the first Conference USA schools to finish 2015 spring practice when they end drills on April 8.

Vanderbilt football took donations for the Shoes4Souls program for footwear for underserved children at last week’s spring football encounter – one of the earliest Black-Gold football contests in school annals…There is a pending bill in the Alabama House of Representatives to bring back varsity football at UAB…Arizona athletics and the city of Tucson have been working on crowd and traffic control procedures for UA football contests…Texas A&M’s baseball team and athletics visited historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala.., on a recent road trip to play Alabama and got the insiders’ tour of the 105-year-old facility where high school football and minor league baseball contests have been played over two centuries…The Raleigh (N.C.) New Observer featured a column about the pros and cons of making NCAA Division I/FBS freshmen ineligible again.

Auburn head coach Gus Malzahn was featured for keeping the Tigers competitive and expected to be in the thick of contention for a possible 2015 College Football Playoff berth … UTEP assistant coach Robert Rodriguez is leaving the Miners for a post with the NFL Minnesota Vikings… Arizona State added Shawn Slocum, son of 2014 NFF College Hall of Fame coach inductee R.C. Slocum, as special teams and linebackers coach…

Award-winning CBS commentator and 2011 NFF Outstanding Contribution to American Football Award recipient Verne Lundquist is working his 32nd consecutive season of CBS NCAA postseason basketball play-by-play…ESPN and the Mid-American Conference have refined their television agreements in football and accompanying sports…Arizona and Memphis football have joined Sirius XM Radio as gainers of numerous Twitter followers in recent weeks…ESPN will debut Jon Gruden’s QB Camp show April 7 as the program starts its sixth season on the network with ample NFL draft information and inside tape looks.

Wisconsin RB Corey Clement, Miami (Fla.) LB Raphael Kirby and UCLA LB Kenny Young have been tabbed by as three.

The money side: Michigan athletics netted $13 million for the 2013-14 academic year with football grossing $91.4 million…UCLA athletics will begin $30 million in new construction and office renovations later this year…Utah will make $3.3 million in offseason improvements at Rice Eccles Stadium…Kansas athletics has set its 2014-15 budget for charter jets and flights at $1.5 million…New Mexico State athletics had a new $1.1 million skybox constructed with a private donation… …Penn State athletics is making several renovations at the Lasch Building on campus and the Beaver Stadium pressbox…Under Armour and Old Dominion athletics formalized their apparel and marketing contract…The Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat completed a three-part series on the possibilities for expansion and renovation at Florida State’s Doak Campbell Stadium…Miami (Ohio) athletics hopes to stretch its marketing and fundraising efforts to become more competitive again in all sports in the Mid-American Conference…Connor Sports, the NCAA and the USBWA are hosting the annual NCAA Final Four Official Court Tour from March 16-27…Penn State’s Board of Trustees approved malt beverage sales at the Bryce-Jordan Center for concerts.

2009 NFF William V. Campbell Award winner QB Tim Tebow of Florida had a workout with the Philadelphia Eagles and is awaiting later word on the tryout. He already is slated to be a commentator for the SEC Network in 2015…Dallas Cowboys and Eastern Illinois QB standout Tony Romo was a guest on The Jimmy Kimmel Show live from Austin, Texas, and the South by Southwest Festival last week. Romo and former NC State and Wisconsin stalwart QB Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks have visited and are slated to visit the Texas Rangers’ spring training activity in Surprise, Ariz. Wilson signed a AAA contract with the Rangers prior to 2015 after working out in 2014 spring drills

NCAA attorneys are negotiating with representatives of former UCLA student-athlete Ed O’Bannon about rights’ fees for electronic games.

2015-16 College Football Playoff Schedule

(All Televised by ESPN, Times TBD)

Dec. 31, 2015 – Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl – Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Host Bowl East

Dec. 31 – Goodyear Cotton Bowl, AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas, CFP Semifinal Game

Dec. 31 – Capital One Orange Bowl, Sun Life Stadium, Miami Gardens, Fla., CFP Semifinal Game

Jan. 1, 2016 – VIZIO Fiesta Bowl, University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz., Host Bowl West

Jan. 1 – Rose Bowl presented by Northwest Mutual, Big Ten vs. Pac-12, Rose Bowl Stadium, Pasadena, Calif., Host Bowl

Jan. 1 – Allstate Sugar Bowl, Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La., Host Bowl

Jan. 11- College Football Championship Game, U. of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.


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