PHILADELPHIA â€“ The funding is completed, and the work is very nearly done. The Chuck Bednarik statue will soon be a reality.
The University of Pennsylvania has announced the formal dedication of the Bednarik statue on Saturday, Nov. 19, prior to the Quakersâ€™ football game against Cornell that kicks off at 1 p.m. The statue will be located inside Gate 2 on the North side of Franklin Field, and will be complemented by a collage honoring the historical significance of the Philadelphia Eagles during their time playing at Franklin Field.
The Bednarik statue will honor â€śConcrete Charlie,â€ť who played his college football at Franklin Field for the Quakers before embarking on a storied professional career at the same stadium for the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Bednarik statue is being done by Brian Hanlon of Hanlon Sculpture Studio in Toms River, N.J. Dubbed â€śNew Jerseyâ€™s Sculptor,â€ť Hanlon has works all over the world including the recent Shaquille Oâ€™Neal statue at Louisiana State University (LSU). Hanlon Sculpture Studio is the official sculptor of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
"I am absolutely honored to sculpt the greatest warrior, maybe next to Smokin' Joe Frazier, in Philadelphia sports history,â€ť said Hanlon. â€śI 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.â€ť
The process to get a Bednarik statue done has been swift. In 2010, a group of Philadelphia businessmen approached the University with the aim of installing a statue of Pennâ€™s greatest all-time player and their hero, Chuck Bednarik, at Franklin Field. Since then, nearly $100,000 has been raised toward the project, bolstered by stories from Philadelphia-area media outlets as well as outlets in the Lehigh Valley where Bednarik continues to reside in Coopersburg. Among the prominent names involved with the project are the president of NFL films, Steve Sabol; former Eagles and St. Louis Rams head coach Dick Vermeil; former Eagles players Ron Jaworski and Eddie Khayat; Bucks County State Rep. Paul Clymer; former Governor Tom Ridge; Dominic Toscani, founder of Paris Business Forms, Inc.; and Bednarikâ€™s son-in-law, Ken Safarowic.