The last of the two-way throwbacks that dominated pro football’s early years, Bednarik lived up to his nickname of “Concrete Charlie” (he actually sold concrete in his offseasons). The No. 1 overall pick in the 1949 NFL draft, the tough and durable Bednarik – he missed only three games in 14 seasons – made eight Pro Bowls and five All-Pro teams while starting at center and linebacker for the Eagles. A member of the previous two Eagles NFL title teams (1949 and 1960), the Hall of Famer is best known for both a devastating hit that knocked Frank Gifford from football for a full 18 months and his game-clinching tackle of Packers star Jim Taylor on the final play of the 1960 title game.
CB Brian Dawkins
Known as the heart and soul of the Eagles’ hard-hitting defense for over a decade, Dawkins was more than just the team’s emotional leader during his 13 seasons in Philly (1996-2008). Dawkins was also one of the NFL’s hardest hitters out of the safety position with a knack for the big play at the big moment. Dawkins earned seven Pro Bowl berths and made three All-Pro teams while with the Eagles, ranks fourth in NFL history in career sacks by a DB and in one of just three players ever with 35 interceptions and 20 sacks. Dawkins also earned selection to the NFL’s All-Decade Team (2000s) and his eight overall Pro Bowl selections are tied for third-most in league history.
RB Steve Van Buren
For a franchise known more for heartache, Van Buren was arguably the NFL’s most overlooked great running back ever. His overall numbers don’t blind you, but taking his 10-12 games per year into account his production ranks with the all-time greats. The Hall of Famer won four NFL rushing titles in his eight seasons and led the NFL in TDs each time, becoming the first player to win three straight rushing crowns (1945-47). He retired as the NFL’s all-time leading rusher after a knee injury shortened his career, but what set him apart in Philly was his leading man status for two-time NFL champions in 1948-49 (ran through a memorable blizzard in ’48 title game, rushed for then-record 196 yards in ’49 title game).
DE Reggie White
Quite possibly the game’s best defensive end that ever played the game, the “Minister of Defense” played most of his Hall of Fame career with the Eagles and cemented his status as a legend of the fall. During his eight seasons with the Eagles (1985-92), White averaged 15.5 sacks per season while never falling below double digits. He won the first of his NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards in the strike-shortened 1987 season when he amassed an amazing 21 sacks in just 12 games, helping anchor one of football’s most feared defenses in recent memory under Buddy Ryan. A first-team All-Pro in six of his eight years in Philly, the Hall of Famer ranks second all-time in sacks in NFL history.
QB Donovan McNabb
Though his time in Philadelphia was always controversial, McNabb was also the biggest winner at quarterback in franchise history. No, he never carried the Eagles to a Super Bowl crown, but under his watch (1999-2009) the Birds reached five NFC Championship games and won four NFC East titles. The six-time Pro Bowl passer ranks as the organization’s all-time leader in completions, attempts, touchdown passes and wins – and always handled the tough times with class, from being booed by some of his own team’s fans on draft day to dealing with the destructive duo of Terrell Owens and Drew Rosenhaus.