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'Gang Green' All-Pro Wes Hopkins Dead at 57

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Wes Hopkins, a former All-Pro safety with the Philadelphia Eagles, died Friday at the age of 57.

The cause of death was not made public, but Hopkins had been in failing health for a couple of months, according to Philly.com.

“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.”

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Hopkins played his entire career with the Eagles after being drafted 35th overall out of SMU in 1983.

“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 organization’s success. Our thoughts are with his family during this time,” Lurie said.

Hopkins was named first team All-Pro in 1985 and made the Pro Bowl that year, when he had six interceptions. His 30 career interceptions is fifth on the Eagles all-time list.

Also, Hopkins played in 137 games, which is tied for third all time in games played among Philadelphia defensive backs.

In 1988, he won the Ed Block Courage Award for his exemplary commitment to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.

Hopkins retired in 1993 after 10 seasons with Philadelphia. He is considered one of the biggest hitters of his era.

“People speak of the big hitters that played the game, but I don’t hear Wes’s name enough,” Harvey Armstrong, former Eagles teammate and friend, told Philly.com. “I was just talking with Eric Dickerson, and he was talking about the big hitter that Wes was. He put him right up there with the top hitters who have ever played the game.”

“He just went into a shell, much like Andre [Waters] did,” Armstrong said. “You could see some of the things he was dealing with. The depression and the anxiety and the other things that CTE causes.”

Waters, a former Eagles safety who played with Hopkins, died from suicide in 2006.

Armstrong said he visited Hopkins in the hospital near his home in Birmingham, Alabama, before he died.

“They didn’t think he was going to make it through the week,” Armstrong said. “But I sat there with him for two days, and you could see him getting stronger and trying to speak. A week later, his family sent me pictures of him doing rehab. He had gotten out of ICU. He was moving better. Speaking.

“Wes fought his whole life. I thought he would get through this because he’s always persevered. He’s always beaten the obstacles that he’s faced. But it got to a point where he couldn’t fight anymore.”

We send our condolences to his family and friends.

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Dave is a lifelong sports fan who has been writing for The Wildcard since 2017. He has been a writer for more than 20 years for a variety of publications.
Dave has been writing about sports for The Wildcard since 2017. He's been a reporter and editor for over 20 years, covering everything from sports to financial news. In addition to writing for The Wildcard, Dave has covered mutual funds for Pensions and Investments, meetings and conventions, money market funds, personal finance, associations, and he currently covers financial regulations and the energy sector for Macallan Communications. He has won awards for both news and sports reporting.
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