For the first time since 1975, the Philadelphia Eagles will hold training camp this summer without longtime fan “Eagle” Joe Brown in attendance.
The team announced Tuesday that Brown passed away on Sunday evening. The Media, Pa., native was 62.
“Training camp will not be the same without Eagle Joe,” Eagles coach Andy Reid said in a statement Tuesday. “He was a fixture at our practices every summer for many, many years. He knew every player on the roster, their 40 time, their college and their statistics, it seemed. He bled green.
“And even though he was struggling with various illnesses in recent years, he still managed to travel to Lehigh a few times every camp. He always had a kind word of encouragement to each of our players and coaches. He never asked for anything and never expected anything. He just wanted to be around his Eagles family. We will certainly miss Joe and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends in their time of loss.”
Brown, a longtime employee of Acme supermarkets in Media, started attending Eagles training camp in 1975 under coach Dick Vermeil at Widener University. In the ensuing years, he scheduled all of his vacation time at Acme to coincide with training camp.
Starting in 1988, coach Buddy Ryan invited Brown to stand on the sideline during training camp practice. Brown’s presence soon became a tradition that was embraced by Rich Kotite, Ray Rhodes and Reid through the years.
A few years ago, when Brown’s eyesight began to deteriorate, the Eagles arranged for a limousine service to drive Brown to Lehigh University.
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