The 10 Best Running Backs the Eagles Have Ever Had
The Eagles boast a very long history spanning over seven decades. Their history has showcased some of the best players of the league. However, there is a section of players who do not seem to get enough attention.
These are the running backs.
Even though Philadelphia has not manufactured many running backs, they have produced highly rated players during various seasons. Going forward, outstanding backs will certainly increase Eagles odds for next season. In hindsight, top players of this position should not be forgotten. Below is a look at some of the top backs, the Eagles have produced.
10. Keith Byars
» 1986-92
Byars played a major role in the team when Philadelphia contested in memorable games. Although he was overshadowed by Cunningham, Byars' potential was unmistakable, ranking number 13 in the rushing list. His subtle approach and his lack of conspicuous display saw him not featured as a running threat. All in all, his input helped the team edge closer to their dreams.
9. Ollie Matson
» 1964-66
Matson started off with good numbers before joining Philly. He would bring his prowess to the team as well. When the Eagles took him in, many teams were not keen on bringing him on board. He had a short stint with the Eagles where he managed 600 yards. Matson is a notable Hall of Famer in pro football and was also honored in the Eagles Honor Roll first edition in 1987.
8. Tom Sullivan
» 1972-77
Sullivan is a running back who has been forgotten the most in Eagles history. He is best known for rushing almost 1,000 yards in games where Philadelphia met their rivals. Despite his declining performance at the end of his stay at the Eagles, he managed to rank number 10 in the history of the franchise.
7. Ricky Watters
» 1995-97
Watters was not in the best of terms with Philly fans during his service. However, he was very productive for the team. In three seasons, he managed to rush 1,000 yards for every season and had positioned himself as a great backfield threat. It is said that his attitude got in the way of him being honored and receiving the call for Canton. All in all, he recorded career yards of 10,000 which is still impressive.
6. Timmy Brown
» 1960-67
Brown served both as a kick returner and running back; in many ways, his prowess seemed to have been forgotten. His name is very similar to Tim Brown of the Raiders but these are two different people. Brown was known for flashy achievements on the field even after meeting with tough teams. He was seen as a machine for yards where he excelled in catching, kick returning and running. Brown managed to feature in three Pro Bowls while serving the Eagles. His best performance was in 1965 where he achieved 50 passes for 682 yards and nine touchdowns. He rushed for 861 yards in total. Philadelphia recognized Brown in 1990 when they inducted him into the Honor Roll.
5. LeSean McCoy
» 2009-Present
McCoy is in the running to become the best running back the Eagles has ever had. However, time will tell as he looks to complete his three seasons that are left. All in all, McCoy is no doubt one of the top talents of the NFL. In the last two seasons, he has managed to garner more than 1,000 yards for each season. This performance earned him the Pro Bowl nod putting him fourth in the league where rushing is concerned. He is also a well established receiving threat with five receiving scores with a total of 166 receptions in his career.
4. Duce Staley
» 1997-03
Staley was one of the most underestimated running backs in the team. He was in the offense for a long time in the Eagles camp before heading to the Steelers. Without any flashy shows, he had mastered the art of subtle delivery; ensuring that the Eagles edged closer to their goal. As a fan favorite, he rushed for more that 1,000 yards. Currently, he is in special teams quality control coordination with the Eagles.
3. Wilbert Montgomery
» 1977-84
Montgomery is the notable all time leading rusher with 6,538 yards. He was in the team that led the Eagles to the Super Bowl of 1980. In that season however, he failed to rush for 1,000 yards and finished with 778. The franchise will not forget his contribution putting him among the greats the team has ever produced.
2. Brian Westbrook
Again, Westbrook is one of the players who was underrated. Despite the lack of size, he proved that he was a potent weapon in the Eagles arsenal. He is rated as the second best rusher in the franchise going by his 5,995 yards. However, he hit a plateau and did not add any major yards after the record. His mastery was in receiving and to this end, he held a team record of 90 receptions for a single-season. Unfortunately, injuries curtailed his career and the world never got to see what he could achieve given the chance of good health. However, his prowess and talent will not be forgotten any time soon; he was among the very best.
1. Steve Van Buren
Van Buren is hands down the best running back in the history of the Eagles. This is despite him ranking number three in the list of all time rushing greats. In 1965, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Through his ingenuity, the Eagles were able to win back to back games in the late 40s. Van Buren set the record of the most rushing touchdowns in a season in 1945. This record was only recently broken by LeSean McCoy who attained 17 touchdowns. Van Buren's record was of 15 touchdowns. There can never be a legacy so rich such as the one he left in Philadelphia. Many rushing backs today cannot help but idolize and learn from this heavy-weight running back who rarely dropped the ball.


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