Former Eagles player Hopkins dies at 57

Wes Hopkins spent his entire career playing for the Philadelphia Eagles. (AFP pic)

PHILADELPHIA: Former Philadelphia Eagles standout safety Wes Hopkins died on Friday morning at age 57, the team confirmed.

No cause of death was announced.

Hopkins spent his entire 10-year career (1983-86, 1988-93) with the Eagles and ranks fifth in club history with 30 career interceptions. He earned Pro Bowl honors in 1985 when he recorded a career-best six interceptions.

“Wes Hopkins is one of the best safeties in the history of our franchise and played a major role in the team’s success during his time here in Philadelphia,” Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie said in a statement. “He was well-respected among his teammates and coaches, not only because of the way he played the game and what he was able to accomplish on the field, but also because of the way he carried himself and the type of leader he was.

“He had a genuine love of the game, and that’s one of the reasons he connected so well with the people of Philadelphia. Wes will be forever remembered as an Eagles legend and somebody who helped build the foundation for our organisation’s success. Our thoughts are with his family during this time.”

Hopkins was a second-round pick of the Eagles in 1983. He started 125 of 137 games and intercepted five or more passes in five different campaigns, the only Eagle ever to accomplish the feat.

His career was interrupted in his fourth season when the hard-hitting safety suffered a gruesome knee injury that sidelined him for most of 1986 as well as the entire 1987 season. But he returned in 1988, sporting his trademark punishing style of play and helped lead Philadelphia to its first playoff trip in seven seasons.

Despite missing most of 1986 and all of 1987 with a devastating knee injury, he returned to play six more seasons at a very high level.

Hopkins played college football at Southern Methodist University and was inducted into the school’s athletic Hall of Fame in May.

Hopkins turned 57 on Wednesday.