Decades after dominating the Franklin Field gridiron, Penn football and Philadelphia Eagles legend Chuck Bednarik will be immortalized at the historic stadium.
On Nov. 19, just before the Quakers kick off their final home game of the season against Cornell, a statue of the man they call “Concrete Charlie” will be unveiled. It will be located inside Gate 2 on the North side of Franklin Field, according to a Penn Athletics press release.
The news comes as a relief to many, as the plan to commemorate the No. 1 overall pick in the 1949 NFL Draft has always been a matter of not if, but when.
And thanks to the independent fundraising efforts of Bednarik’s family and numerous supporters — including former Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil and quarterback Ron Jaworski — the $100,000 project can finally be set in stone.
Bednarik, who is a member of the College and Pro Football Halls of Fame, played center and linebacker for Penn from 1945 to 1948, earning the Maxwell Award during his senior year.
After graduation, Bednarik suited up for 14 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, who later played at Franklin Field from 1958 to 1970.
As a shrine to one of Philadelphia’s finest, Bednarik’s statue will also be accompanied by an Eagles collage, commemorating the team’s 12 years playing on S. 33rd Street.
Brian Hanlon, the Basketball Hall of Fame’s official sculptor, has taken the task upon himself to honor “Concrete Charlie,” a responsibility he relishes.
“I am absolutely honored to sculpt the greatest warrior, maybe next to Smokin’ Joe Frazier, in Philadelphia sports history,” Hanlon told Penn Athletics. “I think it’s great that Chuck’s statue will be placed at the site of his college and NFL careers. Franklin Field is the most sacred, historic, athletic venue in Philadelphia.”