Monday, June 28, 2021

RIP - Tuufuli Uperesa

Tuufuli Uperesa, who played briefly for the Eagles in 1971, passed away on June 21, 2021 at age 73. He was born in American Samoa in 1948, and died there as well. 

Uperesa, an offensive lineman, was the Eagles' 16th-round pick in 1970. After a season on the taxi squad, he played 2 games as a backup tackle in 1971.  He also played for 4 teams in the CFL from 1973-77. 
I remember seeing Uperesa listed in the Eagles' 1971 yearbook. It was a small, TV Guide-sized booklet that I bought (or got for free) at the Merit gas station on City Line Avenue in the Overbrook section of Philadelphia just before the 1971 season.
Unfortunately, I can't find it now. I last saw it in November 2011 when I scanned a few pages for this Eagles' blog post, but I've moved a few times since then and I don't know where it is. I have the 1972 and 1973 yearbooks, full-sized magazines titled "Eagle One" and "Eagle Two", but the 1971 yearbook is not with them. 

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Harold Carmichael - WR

As we leave the 1960s-era Eagles behind, let's take a look at the key Eagles from the 1970s, starting with Harold Carmichael.
Harold was the Eagles' 7th-round pick in 1971. Yes, SEVENTH! The Birds wasted their first 6 picks on DE Richard Harris, G Henry Allison, K Happy Feller (who drafts a kicker that high?) and 3 other guys who didn't even play, before selecting Carmichael. It's no wonder the team sucked so bad in the early-1970s. 
Carmichael played for the Eagles for 13 years, and was a starting wide receiver in all but his first 2 seasons. He started 6 games as a rookie, but it was as a tight end, filling in for the injured Gary Ballman. He also started 2 games in 1972. 
Why all the time on the bench? The Birds already had Harold Jackson and Ben Hawkins as wideouts. Jackson led the NFL in receiving yards in his first (1969) and last (1972) seasons with the Eagles. He also led in receptions in '72. 
After the 1972 season, Jackson was traded to the Rams for quarterback Roman Gabriel. Did they miss the league's top WR? No! Carmichael took Jackson's place, not only in the Eagles' lineup, but as the NFL's leader in catches and receiving yards! 
Carmichael made the Pro Bowl 4 times (1973, 1978-80), and started all but one game from 1973 to 1981. He missed 7 games 1982, but returned for 15 games in '83, his final season in Philly. 
He finished his career with 2 games for the Cowboys in 1984. 

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

RIP - Leroy Keyes

Leroy Keyes, the Eagles' 1st-round pick in 1969, passed away on April 15, 2021 at age 74.

Keyes finished 3rd and 2nd in the Heisman voting in his final 2 seasons at Purdue, then for the Eagles he played halfback for 2 seasons, and strong safety for 2 more before being dealt to the Chiefs.  

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

RIP - Irv Cross

Irv Cross, a cornerback for the Eagles and Rams in the 1960s, passed away on February 28, 2021 at age 81.
Cross was drafted by the Eagles in 1961, and became the starting right cornerback midway through his rookie year after Tom Brookshier suffered a career-ending broken leg. 
Irv was a starting corner through the 1965 season, then was traded to the Rams. He played 3 seasons with the Rams, then returned to the Eagles for his final NFL season (1969) in the deal that sent Bob Brown to LA. 
After coaching for the Eagles in 1970, Cross became a broadcaster, first locally in Philadelphia, then joining the CBS team in 1971 where he remained for 21 years. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

RIP - Cyril Pinder

We just discussed Cyril Pinder on this blog 4 posts ago, but now I learned he passed away on January 23, 2021 at age 74.
The Eagles may not have been a very good team from 1966-75, but they had no shortage of colorful player names on the roster: King Hill, Izzy Lang, Floyd Peters, Joe Lavender, and Cyril Pinder, among others. 
Pinder was drafted by the Eagles in 1968, to replace the departed Timmy Brown. After sharing the load with Lang and Leroy Keyes for 2 seasons, Cyril was the team's leading rusher in 1970. He brought that tidbit to the bargaining table before the following season, and was promptly given a ticket to Chicago. 
He played for the Bears and Cowboys from 1971-73, as well as Chicago's WFL team in 1974-75 before retiring.  

Monday, January 18, 2021

John Meyers - DT

John Meyers was the Eagles' starting right defensive tackle from 1964-67. He played in all 56 games during that time, starting all but three. 
He was the Rams' 3rd-round pick in 1962, but played the '62 and '63 seasons for the Cowboys, playing every game those 2 seasons at right D tackle. He started every game as a rookie, and 7 in 1963. 
After the 1963 season, he was traded to the Eagles along with kicker Sam Baker and guard Lynn Hoyem for flanker Tommy McDonald. 
Meyers was released during training camp in 1968, and replaced in the lineup by 2nd-year man Gary Pettigrew, who had been the starting right end as a rookie. Still, it seems odd that he was released outright, given that he was a 4-year starter, and only age 28. The team chose to go with rookie Mike Dirks and the unproven Frank Molden (who had missed the previous 2 seasons, and started no games as a rookie in 1965) as the backups at defensive tackle.
There were no cards issued by Topps or Philly Gum for John Meyers. This is a custom card created by RetroCards, in the 1962 Fleer style. (It's out of focus because I enlarged a thumbnail.)
Where's Waldo John?

That wraps up the player reviews for those whose Eagles' career started in the 1960s (or 1950s, for Pete Retzlaff). Next we will look at the players who began their Eagles' career in the 1970s, in order of most games as an Eagle. (Harold Carmichael will lead off the list.) 

But first, a re-cap of the players reviewed so far:
There are 52 players here. If I was going to have an Eagles' fantasy team for the 1966-69 period, this one is fairly solid. There are a few stars here and there, and most positions have above-average players. The middle linebacking looks a little thin, but Rossovich could also play there. Honestly, the quarterback, outside linebacker, and guard positions could use an upgrade, but these are the Eagles we have to work with for that time period.