Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik loses his 'hero,' Steve Van Buren

Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik describes Steve Van Buren as "the best football player I ever saw." (Mel Evans/AP file photo)

Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik spoke of his memories of Steve Van Buren Friday, the morning after Van Buren passed away in Lancaster at age 91. Bednarik was a rookie on the 1949 NFL championship team led by Van Buren.

"When I was a rookie I was quoted somewhere as saying that Steve Van Buren was my hero and Steve never let me forget it. For years he would joke and say to me 'Chuck, am I still your hero?' I'm 87 years old and my answer today is same as it always been, 'Yes Steve, you are my hero.' Steve Van Buren was the best football player I ever saw.

 "Over the last few years whenever we got together he would point at me and say 'You're the best.' I'd tell him, 'No, you're the best.' This would go back and forth and we'd settle it by agreeing that he was the best runner and I was the best tackler. At any stage in life it's sad to lose your hero, and Steve Van Buren was mine. You get a lot of personalities in a locker room, but there was nobody who didn't look up to and admire Steve."