Hall of Fame running back Steve Van Buren, who joined the NFL in 1944 and was named to the league’s 75th Anniversary Team in 1994, has died at the age of 91.
“On the field and off, as a player, a leader and a man, Steve Van Buren embodied the finest characteristics of our city and our sport,” Eagles owners Jeffrey Lurie said in a release. “He was a friend and an inspiration to generations of fans, and the model of what an Eagle should be.”
He spent all of his eight NFL seasons with the Eagles, finishing with 5,860 yards. He is the only member of the franchise to ever lead the NFL in rushing — and he did it four times.
Van Buren, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1965, also holds the highest single-season punt-return average in team history with 15.5 yards, the franchise’s highest career kickoff-return average with 26.7 yards, and the Eagles’ top single-game rushing yardage performance with 205. In 2011, LeSean McCoy broke Van Buren’s 66-year-old single-season touchdown record of 18. (McCoy finished the season with 20 touchdowns.)
Van Buren is survived by three daughters, 16 grandchildren, and 16 great-grandchildren.
We extend our condolences to Van Buren’s family, teammates, and colleagues.