RIP Wes Hopkins

Posted: September 29th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on RIP Wes Hopkins

We got sad news on Friday.

Wes Hopkins was one of my favorite Eagles. He is now the fourth member of Gang Green that has died, along with Reggie, Jerome and Andre.

I first started really paying attention to the Eagles when Buddy Ryan took over in 1986. I had loved Ryan’s 46 Defense in Chicago and was excited to see what he could do in Philly. Everybody could tell right away that Reggie White was the real deal. He was the foundation of Gang Green.

There were two other players already in place, Andre and Wes. Andre was the overachiever trying to carve out a role in the NFL. He didn’t start a game until Buddy arrived. Wes was the high draft pick that looked to be on his way to becoming a star.

Wes was similar to Brian Dawkins at that point. He had great range and was a terrific centerfielder. He had great ball skills. Wes could come down and play in the box. He was a very good blitzer. John Madden always raved about Wes as a sure-tackler, which is one of the best compliments you can give to a safety. If they miss a tackle, that can lead to a touchdown. Wes didn’t miss many tackles.

As hard as this will be for some of you to believe, Wes might have been an even bigger hitter than Dawk. Some opponents were genuinely scared to cross the middle. Many of those hits would get Wes thrown out of games today, but back then that was considered good, tough football. Andre used to say that half of Wes’s job was done when he walked on the field and just looked over at the receivers. When 48 was on the field, you needed to know exactly where he was.

A devastating knee injury cost Wes 12 games in 1986 and the entire 1987 season. Think about that. That was the prime of his career and he would never be the same player. Wes played in 63 of 64 games from 1988-1991. He was still a good player. He just wasn’t the same athlete and couldn’t do some of the things he could pre-injury.

Age and nagging injuries became a factor in 1992 and Wes retired after 1993. He finished with 30 INTs and 12 sacks. Brian Dawkins played in 87 more games than Wes and never had a major injury to deal with. Dawk finished his career with 37 INTs and 26 sacks. That should give you an idea just how productive Wes was.

The one downside to Brian Dawkins is that he made people forget just how good Wes was. I love Dawk, but there is a part of me that will always Wes and Andre. They were a terrific duo and were a huge part of me becoming an Eagles fan.

Beyond that, they gave me a love of the safety position. To this day, there is a soft spot in my heart for safeties.

Thank you for some amazing memories, Wes.



Tommy McDonald recently passed away. I didn’t write about that at the time. McDonald was a truly great player and a huge part of Eagles history. He’s a bit before my time so I don’t have any special insight into him or his career.


In current safety news…

The Eagles are going to roll with three safeties for now.

Doug Pederson said the team will look at outside options. I’m sure he meant for after Sunday’s game. Adding a player at this point would have done nothing. I would bet the Eagles bring in some free agents on Tuesday for a workout, unless there is someone they are specifically targeting.

Then again, they could just stick with three safeties for now.

Stay tuned.


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