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Eagles legend Al Wistert passes away at 95


via @Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles legend Al Wistert passed away on Saturday at the age of 95 years old, according to an official announcement from the team. It's a sad day for the franchise.

After being drafted by the Phil-Pitt Steagles in 1943, Wistert played 95 games for the Eagles in his entire nine-year career. He was named first-team All-Pro four times. Bleeding Green Nation's own Dave Mangels wrote an excellent profile on Wistert last summer. Dave talked about why Wistert is a Pro Football Hall of Fame snub. Here's a clip:

On offense, Wistert was recognized as controlling the line of scrimmage, an excellent downfield blocker and as the best offensive lineman on the Eagles, who also had All Pros Bucko Kilroy and Vic Sears. Behind them Steve Van Buren led the NFL in rushing four times, becoming the first player to rush for 1,000 yards, in 1948 and 1949 Bosh Pritchard finished 7th and 9th respectively in rushing despite Van Buren leading the league in attempts both of those seasons. Kilroy, Sears and Wistert were all members of the NFL’s 1940s All-Decade Team. In The Hidden Game of Football, Bob Carroll wrote in 1988 that Wistert "he was the top lineman, among several outstanding guards and tackles, on one of the NFL’s dynasties, the post-war Eagles." Allen praised the undersized Wistert for his variety of blocking techniques that made him "as fine a blocker as you could want." Teammates and newspaper reports from the time state that he had excellent speed and was often the first defender to the ball on punts and kickoffs.

And he was a highly respected leader. In either 1946 or 1947 Wistert was named team captain, a title he held until he retired. Neale credited him with inspirational pep talks said he was the best tackle he ever saw. After losing the NFL Championship Game in 1947, the Eagles won it in 1948 and 1949, both times the defense recorded a shutout. In the 1948 game, Wistert threw a key block, taking out two defenders, on the only score of the game.

Wistert, who wore No. 70, was the first Eagles player to ever have his number retired.


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