Bob Brown

sought greatness. A mountain of a man, Brown feared no one or nothing, not even the heightened expectations he generated.

He stated his professional goal shortly after the Eagles used the second overall pick in the 1964 draft to secure the all-American offensive lineman from Nebraska: to be the best tackle ever to play in the National Football League.

In five seasons in Philadelphia, Brown became the best tackle ever to play for the Eagles. "The Boomer," as Brown was called, was a sledgehammer, a pioneer, and a carefully chiseled beast who wore down and outlasted his opponents.

Brown played 50 straight games for the Eagles before suffering a right knee injury that bothered him the rest of his career. He made three Pro Bowls with the Eagles (six overall) and was named to five all-league teams before he forced a trade to the Los Angeles Rams in May 1969.

In an era when men played football for half the year, then worked another job the other half, Brown dedicated himself solely to football. His off-seasons consisted of three- to five-hour workouts seven days a week. Lifting weights. Punching bags. Skipping rope. Running. Playing basketball. The 6-foot-4, nearly 300-pound Brown did it all.

"This is a year-round job," Brown told The Inquirer in 1966. "Some people don't realize that, but it is. It's truly a profession, and it is a highly competitive field. The only commodity I have to sell in the field is my body, and if I don't keep it in its best shape, the day would come quickly when nobody would be hearing about Bob Brown."

A member of the NFL's all-1960s team, Brown's last season with the Eagles was the 2-12 disaster of 1968. He had a falling-out with the Eagles and general manager Pete Retzlaff after coach Joe Kuharich was fired.

"I thought he was a great coach," Brown told The Inquirer shortly after his induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2004. "I thought some of my Eagle brothers didn't perform as well as they could have. I thought we let him down."

- Ashley Fox

Bob Brown



College: Nebraska

With Eagles: 1964-68

Highlights: He was named to the NFL's all-decade team of the 1960s.

Records: The Eagles' first-round draft pick in 1964, he was a three-time Pro Bowler during five seasons and a five-time all-league selection.

Hall of Fame: 2004