Buddy Ryan, legendary Eagles head coach and NFL icon, dies at age 85


Former Eagles head coach and NFL defensive guru Buddy Ryan has died at the age of 85, Ryan's agent James Solano confirmed to CSNPhilly.com. 

ESPN first reported on Tuesday morning that the football world had lost an icon. 

Ryan was known as much for his loud persona as his stellar defensive mind. While he never won a playoff game in Philadelphia, he forever became a favorite among Eagles fans, in large part for his brash personality and willingness to pummel opponents. 

Ryan coached the Eagles from 1986 to 1990. During his five seasons in Philadelphia, he went 43-35-1 and 0-3 in the playoffs. 

“Buddy Ryan was arguably one of the greatest defensive masterminds in NFL history and forever left his mark on the Eagles organization and the city of Philadelphia,” Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said in a statement released by the team. “Over the last 20-plus years, I had the pleasure of discussing football with Buddy and I always came away from those conversations intrigued by his knowledge and passion for the game. On behalf of myself and the entire Eagles family, I’d like to offer our deepest condolences to the Ryan family.”

Ryan's arrival marked a football resurgence of sorts in the city. When he led the Eagles to the playoffs and the 1988 NFC East title, it was the franchise's first playoff appearance since 1981. He coached seven Eagles to a total of 15 All-Pro selections: CB Eric Allen, DT Jerome Brown, QB Randall Cunningham, LB Byron Evans, TE Keith Jackson, WR Mike Quick and DE Reggie White.

“Buddy Ryan was one of the most creative and innovative defensive minds in the game of football,” Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said in a statement. “It was easy to sense his passion for the game and how much his players loved playing for him. His defensive philosophy remains a big part of the game today. He is a legend in our sport. My thoughts and prayers go out to Rex, Rob, Jim and the entire Ryan family.” 

Before becoming the Eagles' head coach, Ryan, the innovator of the 46 defense, led what is perhaps the best defense to ever take the field. His 1985 Bears unit led the team to a win in Super Bowl XX. 

"We lost a good one," former Bears head coach Mike Ditka said on Sirius/XM radio. "There will never be another guy like Buddy, believe me."

Ryan's NFL coaching career began in Buffalo in 1961. He also coached the Jets and Vikings before becoming the Bears' defensive coordinator in 1978. 

After being fired by the Eagles, he was the Oilers' defensive coordinator in 1993 and the Cardinals' head coach from 1994-95.

His sons Rex and Rob have also become NFL coaches. Rex is currently the head coach of the Bills and his brother Rob is an assistant on his staff. 

The loss of Ryan on Tuesday was felt heavily within the Philadelphia community and around the NFL

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