Hall of Fame Professional Football Player. From 1949 until 1962, he played at the linebacker and center positions in the National Football League with the Philadelphia Eagles. He was a key contributor to two NFL Titles (1949 and 1960). Bednarik will perhaps be best remembered for a thunderous hit he delivered to New York Giants' running back Frank Gifford during the 1960 season. The event was captured in what has become a highly-memorable photograph by Sports Illustrated showing Bednarik standing over a motionless Gifford. Born Charles Phillip Bednarik, he attended Bethlehem Catholic High School. He served as a waist gunner aboard a B-24 with the United States Army Air Forces during World War II and earned an Air Medal with Five Oak Leaf Clusters and Five Battle Stars, as he flew 30 combat missions over Europe. Upon his return home, he enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania, where he played collegiate football and received the Maxwell Award as the Top College Player in 1948. He achieved All-American honors twice. Chosen by Philadelphia as the number one overall selection of the 1949 NFL Draft, he totaled 169 regular season games. A physical force and one of the hardest hitters in NFL history, he achieved Pro-Bowl status eight-times and First-Team All-Pro Honors five-times. Bednarik's impact on the league was immediate as he experienced a world championship during his rookie year (1949). Following an injury to Eagles' linebacker Bob Pellegrini, Bednarik (at the age of thirty-five) took over as linebacker while also playing the center position. During the 1960 NFL Title Game, Bedarik was on the field for every down. He prevented the Packers' Jim Taylor from scoring with a tackle on the final play of the game, which preserved the 17-13 victory and the championship for the Eagles. In contrary to what many believe, Bednarick's nickname "Concrete Charlie" was given to him for his off-season occupation as a concrete salesman, rather than his physical playing style on the field. He was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1969. He is a charter member of the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame (1996). His uniform number 60 has been retired by the Eagles and he was named to their Honor Roll in 1987. Additionally, he is a member of both the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. In 1976, he returned to the football field to serve as an associate coach for Dick Vermeil, when he became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He was named to the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team and is regard by many as the greatest linebacker in NFL history. Bednarik participated in several reunions of the 1960 Title Team and in later year, attended Eagles' pre-season practices. He suffered from blood pressure issues and was hospitalized a few years prior to his death.
Bio by: C.S.