Eagles great Pete Retzlaff has passed away

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Philadelphia Eagles are having a bad week. This week alone, the team has lost two former players in a matter of days.

First, Timmy Brown. Now, Pete Retzlaff.

Death Candle
Death Candle (Photo by Pixabay.com)

Retzlaff passed away on Friday, the team announced. He passed away at 88 of natural causes.

“Pete’s legacy goes far beyond the success he was able to achieve on the field,” Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He gave so much to this organization and to our sport as a player, general manager, broadcaster, and leader of the NFLPA. He stayed connected with the team and the city of Philadelphia for many years after his retirement.

“I had the pleasure of spending time with Pete over the years and I will always remember him as a true gentleman who was kind and genuine and who connected so well with others. On behalf of the organization, our thoughts are with Pete’s family and friends as we mourn the passing of an Eagles legend.”

Both players — who passed away this week — were members of the 1960 NFL Championship team. Up until recently when the Eagles won Super Bowl LII against the New England Patriots on February 4, 2018, the 1960 NFL Championship team was the only championship in team history.

Retzlaff — who was born in Ellendale, North Dakota — passed away in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. He attended South Dakota State College.

He was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 1953 NFL Draft. However, he never played for the team. He served two-years in the U.S. Army, before his contract was sold to the Eagles.

Retzlaff played 11 seasons with the Eagles from 1956 through 1966. During his career, besides the 1960 NFL Championship, he was a five-time Pro Bowler in 1958, 1960, 1963, 1964, and 1965.

He also was a two-time first-team All-Pro in 1958 and 1965. In addition, he was also named twice to the second-team All-Pro team in 1964 and 1966.

Retzlaff also won the Bert Bell Award in 1965. He has his No. 44 retired by the Eagles. He is also in the team’s Hall of Fame.

Retzlaff appeared in 132 games in his Eagles career, including 118 starts. He had 452 receptions for 7,412 yards and 47 touchdowns. 

He also had six carries for -4 yards. The rushing yards came from the 1958-1961 seasons with only the 1960 and 1961 seasons with positive yardage. 

His best season of his career came in 1965 when he had 66 receptions for 1,190 yards and 10 touchdowns in 14 starts. This was the only time in his entire career that he had more than 1,000 receiving yards in a season. 

Here are the retired numbers in team history:

Eagles Retired Numbers  
5 Donovan McNabb
15 Steve Van Buren
20 Brian Dawkins
40 Tom Brookshier
44 Pete Retzlaff
60 Chuck Bednarik
70 Al Wistert
92 Reggie White
99 Jerome Brown

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