Friday, August 24, 2012

Former Eagles great, HOF member Van Buren dies

Former Philadelphia Eagles running back and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Steve Van Buren passed away on Thursday at the age of 91.

Multiple reports state he died in his adopted hometown of Lancaster, PA.

"On the field and off, as a player, a leader and a man, Steve Van Buren embodied the finest characteristics of our city and our sport," said Eagles chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. "He was a friend and an inspiration to generations of fans, and the model of what an Eagle should be."

Playing in Philadelphia from 1944 to 1951, Van Buren totaled 5,860 rushing yards and 69 touchdowns on 1,320 attempts, adding 523 yards and three scores on 45 receptions. He led the NFL in rushing yards and rushing touchdowns on four occasions (1945, '47-'49), and led the league in total yards from scrimmage in 1947 and '48.

Also a feared returner, Van Buren racked up five more special-teams touchdowns: three on kickoffs and two on punts, during his distinguished eight-year career.

Born in Honduras but raised in New Orleans, the LSU product was selected with the Birds' fifth-overall pick in the 1944 draft, and led the Eagles to three consecutive NFL title games (1947-49), with victories in 1948 against the Cardinals and the following campaign against the Rams.

In a driving snowstorm at Shibe Park, Van Buren famously scored the lone touchdown in the '48 contest to beat Chicago -- a game he initially thought would not be played due to the severity of the blizzard.

Van Buren, who currently ranks third on the franchise's all-time rushing list, was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1965 and was selected for the NFL's 75th anniversary team in 1994. His jersey number 15 was also retired by the Eagles

"Steve Van Buren is one of the all-time Eagles," said Eagles president Don Smolenski. "He made his mark on the field, in the city of Philadelphia, and in the record books of the NFL. We honor the passing of one of our great ones."
Post a Comment