By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Saturday morning, Philadelphia lost a legend.

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Eagles Hall Of Fame center and linebacker, Chuck Bednarik, passed away at the age of 89. The Bethlehem native, University of Pennsylvania graduate, and World War II hero, played a franchise record 14 seasons for the Eagles, winning two NFL Championships.

“Very much a product of his upbringing,” Ray Didinger said of Bednarik on Monday on the 94WIP Morning Show. “He was—grew up tough. His parents were immigrants from Czechoslovakia. Settled in Bethlehem, in the shadows of the steel mill. Everybody in his family went to work in the steel mill, it was a tough life. He didn’t have much money and Chuck really believed that was where he was going to end up. He believed he was going to wind up in the steel mill, same as all of his other male relatives. Just so happened that he was this remarkable athlete who got a scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania and everything went on—his life took a different course.”

Listen: Ray Didinger on the 94WIP Morning Show

 

Didinger explained how he used to take his family summer trip to Hershey, PA, where the Eagles used to practice. Didinger took a photo with “Concrete Charlie” that he treasures today.

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“I remember meeting Chuck and my dad took the picture and it was missing for years,” he said. “It was one of those things that just sort of goes into your drawer in your house and you never know where it is. I didn’t see it for years and when my dad passed away and we were cleaning out the house, we found it. We found it, it was in his desk drawer down in Florida and he had kept it there all those years.”

Merrill Reese, the voice of the Eagles, said he wished he had a chance to call some of Bednarik’s games. Reese praised Bednarik’s athleticism.

Listen: Merrill Reese on the 94WIP Morning Show

 

“Chuck Bednarik was the men’s golf champion at Whitemarsh Country Club in Philadelphia, Whitemarsh Valley Country Club,” Reese explained. “He was an outstanding golfer. He was just a tremendous, tremendous coordinated athlete.”

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