Former Eagles running back Steve van Buren, the star player on Philadelphia’s 1948 and 1949 NFL championship teams, died Thursday of pneumonia. He was 91.
A first-round draft pick out of LSU, Van Buren led the NFL in rushing four times and totaled 5,860 rushing yards and 77 touchdowns during his eight seasons as a member of the Eagles.
The seven-time All-Pro selection sparked Philadelphia’s offense, leading a team that had never finished above fourth place in its history to two NFL titles in the late 40s.
Fox Philly writes that Van Buren still holds the Eagles’ single-game record for rushing yards with 205 — against Pittsburgh in 1949 — as well as the club record for most consecutive games with a rushing touchdown with eight in 1947.
After retiring from the game in 1952, Van was voted into the Hall of Fame (the first Eagle player to accomplish the feat) in 1965 and was selected for the NFL’s 75th anniversary team in 1994.
“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,” Eagles Chief Executive Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement.
In his later years, Steve Van Buren remained in the Philadelphia area, living a quiet, low-key lifestyle despite continuing to hold a number of all-time team records.
“He was a friend and an inspiration to generations of fans, and the model of what an Eagle should be.”
Van Buren is survived by three daughters, 16 grandchildren, and 16 great grandchildren.
Fox News has more on Eagles great, Steve Van Buren, in the video below: