I’ve finally found something that Chuck Bednarik and I have in common : we both want the Eagles to LOSE!
From the Associated Press :
“I can’t wait until the Super Bowl is over,” said Bednarik, who played for the Eagles from 1949 to 1962. “I hope the 1960 (Eagles) team remains the last one to win. I hope it stays that way.”
Bednarik admits he’s jealous and resentful about the salaries and spotlight today’s players receive, calling them “overpaid and underplayed.” Bednarik says he never made more than $27,000 and supplemented his income with an afternoon job selling concrete, earning him the nickname “Concrete Charlie.”
Imagine the multimillion dollar endorsement deals and magazine covers for a 60-minute player today. Forget working for a concrete company. He could probably own one. Or five.
“How would you feel sitting there knowing what transpired when I played?” said Bednarik, who lives in Coopersburg, Pa., and turns 80 in May.
Maybe Bednarik would keep his sentiments to himself if not for a dispute with the only team he ever played for.
Bednarik’s acrimony stems from a 1996 visit with Lurie when he asked the Eagles owner to buy 100 copies of his book at $15 a pop, a total of $1,500, or “tip money,” as the Hall of Famer described it.
Bednarik wanted Lurie to give the books to the team. He says Lurie refused because the Eagles aren’t allowed to give the team gifts.
In 1996, Deion Sanders played regularly on both offense and defense for the Cowboys, becoming the NFL’s first two-way starter since Bednarik in 1962. Bednarik was not impressed.
“The positions I played, every play, I was making contact, not like that … Deion Sanders,” Bednarik said. “He couldn’t tackle my wife. He’s back there dancing out there instead of hitting.”
No topic is off limits for Bednarik, not even the crazed Eagles fans who paint their faces, sing the fight song and camp out early for the perfect tailgate spot on home games.
“The fans were for us, but these people are nuts,” he said. “It wasn’t like that then. Nobody would get there at 6 a.m. and wait and do all that. … No way. To me, they’re nuts.”
Some would say the same thing about Bednarik.
Tommy McDonald, a Hall of Fame receiver who played with Bednarik from 1957-62, remains an avid Eagles supporter (he offered to suit up if Terrell Owens can’t go) and has grown tired of Bednarik’s act.
“I don’t know how many times I’ve said, ‘C’mon, Chuck. Get over it.’ He won’t let it go,” McDonald said.
While McDonald says he recently rejected an offer to sell his championship ring for $5,000, Bednarik pawned the same ring and his Hall of Fame ring for needed cash.
“I’m not struggling, but I’m not that well off,” Bednarik said. “I have my wedding ring. I don’t need to wear nothing else. It paid for some of my income tax. I never had a child go to school here and my school tax is $5,116. School tax!”
Bednarik receives a football pension check, but, not surprisingly, he said it isn’t enough.
“It stinks,” Bednarik said. “It’s nothing.”