Bednarik, 85, not enjoying hospital stay

Eagles great Chuck Bednarik at the Linc in September. He is in a Lehigh Valley hospital after suffering shortness of breath.
Eagles great Chuck Bednarik at the Linc in September. He is in a Lehigh Valley hospital after suffering shortness of breath.
Posted: March 25, 2011

Eagles Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik remained in serious condition at a Bethlehem-area hospital Thursday, two days after experiencing shortness of breath, according to a St. Luke's Hospital spokeswoman.

However, the 85-year-old Bednarik was improving and was "sitting up in bed and talking" as of Thursday, his son-in-law Ken Safarowic said.

"They're still running tests on him," said Safarowic, who is acting as a spokesman for the Bednarik family. "It's not a heart attack. His heart is as strong as when he was playing. But I think he'll be in the hospital for a couple more days."

Nicknamed "Concrete Charlie," Bednarik was one of the last true 60-minute men, having played both center and linebacker for most of his 14 seasons in the NFL. He played for the Eagles from 1949 to '62 and was an all-pro 10 times. The former Penn star was voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967 and is one of seven players to have his number retired by the Eagles.

Rumors had swirled that Bednarik had suffered a heart attack after he was rushed to the hospital on Tuesday. Safarowic said that Bednarik had trouble breathing and had to lie down before his wife, Emma, called 911.

Safarowic did not describe Bednarik's condition as "serious."

"I've seen him," Safarowic said. "He's stable. He never lost consciousness. He's had no lingering health problems."

Bednarik's last formal public appearance in Philadelphia was in September when the Eagles honored their 1960 NFL championship team during the opener. He was embraced warmly by fans.

"I wish I could say he's resting comfortably, but he's never been one to be comfortable sitting still," Safarowic said. "He's like, 'Get me the hell out of here.' "

Weaver apologizes. Leonard Weaver profusely apologized for comparing NFL players' plight to that of slavery on Wednesday, but the Eagles fullback's comments were still being criticized and dissected on local sports-talk radio shows a day later.

In a Comcast SportsNet interview on Tuesday, Weaver echoed Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson's recent contention that locked-out players were being treated "like slaves" by NFL owners.

The next day, Weaver's Twitter account was flooded by those who took umbrage with his remark. He initially defended his statement but reversed and later backtracked after he said he watched video of his appearance.

"I've come to the conclusion that I represented my family, friends, and organization the wrong way," Weaver tweeted. "I'm sorry for those words I used and if I offend anyone, please forgive me."

Weaver, who is in Alabama trying to recover from the potentially career-threatening knee injury he suffered last season, later appeared on several television and radio shows in an attempt to apologize and clarify his comments.

Vick the cover model? Michael Vick is one of 32 candidates - one from each NFL team - to grace the cover of the Madden 12 video game.

Online voting began earlier this week, and the Eagles quarterback held a significant lead over Cowboys defensive end DeMarcus Ware in the first round. Voting ends on Monday and the narrowed-down field of 16 will be announced later that day on ESPN.

If Vick were to win the overall voting, he would become the first player to be on the cover of the video game for a second time. He was on the cover in 2004.

Saying no to Vick's jersey. Despite a Facebook campaign by students at Warwick High in Newport News, Va., Vick's high school will not display his jersey again.

Vick starred at Warwick in the late '90s, but after his federal conviction for running a dogfighting operation in 2007, the school took down his jersey.

"It is the final decision," spokeswoman Michelle Price told the Virginian-Pilot.


Contact staff writer Jeff McLane at 215-854-4745 or jmclane@phillynews.com.

Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/Jeff_McLane

 

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