Challenging Search for the Top No. 64 in Eagles History

Ed Kracz

It took more than a month until it was time to pull out the dartboard, put on a blindfold, and fire away in an effort to find the best player in Eagles history to wear a certain number.

Number 64 is problematic, and, while throwing darts is an exaggeration, coming up with the best of all to wear it took more digging than it should.

Come on down, Ed Blaine, you are the at the top of the heap, and that is not to belittle Blain, because he was darn good in his own right and has a nice little backstory.

Who else?

Well, pass the darts and let’s get started:

Current number 64:

Keegan Render. Is the Eagles replacement for center Jason Kelce on the roster for when the day comes that he retires? Could it be Render?

Render was signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL Draft and spent training camp with the Eagles. He was then signed to the practice squad in Week Seven. He was a standout center at the University of Iowa, where he received All-Big Ten accolades after his senior season in 2018.

Top 3 to wear No. 64:

3. Dean Miraldi. A second-round pick by Dick Vermeil’s Eagles in 1981, the 55th player taken overall, Miraldi stuck around for just 30 games and three years, making 22 starts at left tackle.

2. Ed George. He played 44 games in three seasons with the Eagles, from 1976-78, and made 27 starts at right tackle in that time. George, however, won two Grey Cups in the Canadian Football League as a guard with the Montreal Alouettes and was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 2005.

1. Ed Blaine. The interior lineman was taken by the Green Bay Packers as the 28th player picked overall in 1962 and helped GB win an NFL Championship that season. He was then traded to the Eagles, who were coming off a 3-10-1 season.

“Well, I was very disappointed, Blaine said in an interview for a “Where are they now?” segment. “We looked like we were scheduled to be repeat champions. I had lots of friends on the team and had just gotten married. My wife and I had brought all of the things that we had and gotten a permanent apartment. That’s how confident I was that I was going to remain in Green Bay.”

Blaine made 55 starts at left guard for the next four years before leaving giving up the NFL to go to get a Ph.D. He had never expected to get drafted, playing at an undersized 6-1, 240.

“One of my professors (at Missouri), my mentor as an undergraduate, didn’t like athletics; but he recognized that this was something that not everyone got a chance at,” said Blaine. “He said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do. If you promise to quit after five years, I will give you a place in my laboratory that you can come back to every offseason and work on your master’s degree. And then at the end of those five semesters, you’ll get your degree and you have to agree to stop playing football and finish your Ph.D.’

“I treasure my athletic years, particularly those five years (in the NFL), but I couldn’t play forever.”

Runner-up:

Matt Tobin. Yeah, Tobin, who held mostly a reserve role as both a guard and tackle from 2013-2016. He made seven starts at left guard in 2014 and 13 starts at right guard in 2015 but was traded to Seattle along with a seventh-round pick in the 2018 draft in the summer before the Eagles went on to win the Super Bowl. In return, the Eagles received a fifth-round pick from the Seahawks and tight end Troy Fumagalli, who was eventually traded.

Others:

Robert McDonough, Mario Giannelli, Menil Mavraides, Russ Carrioccio, Abe Gibron, Bob Gaona, John Simerson, Galen Laack, Stan Campbell, Roy Hord, Randy Beisler, Dean Wink, Norm Davis, Joe Jones, Ernie Janet, Garry Puetz, Mike Perrino, Joe Rudolph, Sean Love, Stefan Rogers, Chris Patrick, Antonio Dixon, Jeff Owens, and Jake Scott.

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