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Encyclopedia > Steve Van Buren

Steve Van Buren (b. December 28, 1920 at La Ceiba, Honduras) was an American football player who played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1944 to 1951.


Van Buren began life in Honduras but after he was orphaned as a boy, he was sent to live with relatives in New Orleans. From Easton High School in New Orleans, he received an athletic scholarship to Louisiana State University where he led the nation in points (110) and touchdowns (16) as a senior.


A first round draft pick in 1944, Van Buren ran for 444 yards in nine games during his first season. He also led the league in returning punts as a rookie. The following season, Van Buren led the NFL in rushing for the first time. He would win three additional rushing crowns during his career.


Van Buren's signature game came on December 26, 1948. Playing in a blizzard for the NFL Championship against the Chicago Cardinals, Van Buren scored the only touchdown of the game to give the Eagles their first league title. They would win their second crown a year later. In that game, Van Buren set a league record with 196 yards rushing.


After a knee injury before the 1952 season, Van Buren retired as league record holder for rushing yards (5860) and rushing touchdowns (69). He also scored three times returning kickoffs, three times on receptions, and twice on punt returns for a total of 77 touchdowns. He was also the first running back to pass 1000 yards in a season twice.


Steve Van Buren was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the Class of 1965.


 
 

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