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Former Eagles DB Brookshier dead at 78, was two-time All-Pro

Former Philadelphia Eagles star Tom Brookshier died Friday night after a bout with cancer, the team said. He was 78.

Brookshier had 20 interceptions in seven seasons with the Eagles, earning All-Pro honors in 1959 and 1960, before a compound fracture in his leg ended his career in 1961.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik called Brookshier a leader on the field and in the locker room and said his former Eagles teammate "might have been the toughest defensive back of our era."

"He was a hitter," Bednarik said in a statement released by the team. "We've lost one of the great Eagles of all time."

Brookshier was a 10th-round draft pick out of Colorado, and he had eight interceptions as a rookie in 1953. That's still tied with Bibbles Bawel for the Eagles' single-season interception record.

Brookshier served a two-year stint in the Air Force before returning to the NFL in 1956.

On Dec. 26, 1960, the Eagles held on for a 17-13 victory over Bart Starr, Vince Lombardi and the mighty Green Bay Packers to win their last NFL championship. Brookshier starred on that Eagles team, which Hall of Fame wide receiver Tommy McDonald likened to a family.

"Nobody said we were going to beat Green Bay," McDonald said Saturday. "Well, look at what we did! The 1960 team lost a brother. That 1960 team was family. He had an outstanding personality. He was a happy person to be around."

Even years later, Brookshier remained a revered figure in Philadelphia.


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"He bled green, and I will always cherish our conversations and the relationship that we fostered throughout my tenure," Eagles coach Andy Reid said.

Brookshier is one of seven Eagles to have his number retired, and he was inducted into the team's Honor Roll in 1989. After he retired from football, Brookshier announced NFL games with Pat Summerall for CBS.

"Tom Brookshier will be missed by his friends, colleagues and admirers," CBS Sports president Sean McManus said in a statement. "His voice and his style will forever be part of the history of sports television and proudly recognized in the foundation and the future of CBS Sports."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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