Former Eagle Steele dead at 88

Oct 18, 2006 - 9:01 PM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) - Ernie Steele, a member of the Philadelphia Eagles' 1948 championship team and the franchise's all-time leading punt returner, died on Monday. He was 88.

Steele played for the Eagles from 1942-48, serving as a running back, defensive back and punt returner. In 69 games, he averaged 16.8 yards on punt returns and recorded 24 interceptions.

The Eagles reached the NFL Championship Game in 1947 and 1948, winning the title on their second trip.

Steele was also a part of the 1943 "Steagles," a team that formed when the Pittsburgh Steelers and Eagles merged due to a lack of manpower because of World War II. The team split its home games between Philadelphia's Shibe Park and Pittsburgh's Forbes Field that season, going 5-4-1.

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