Another Steagle has passed away. Francis "Bucko" Kilroy died on Tuesday, July 10. He was 86.
Bucko was a rookie when he played for the Steagles in 1943. He never left the National Football League. After his playing career ended, he moved on to front-office jobs with the Eagles, Redskins, Cowboys, and Patriots. In all he spent 64 seasons working in the NFL - more than anyone else, even George Halas.
Life magazine once identified Bucko as the dirtiest player in the league. (He sued the magazine for libel and won an $11,600 judgment.) Off the field, though, he really was a nice guy. One of the nicest you'd ever meet, in fact.
I met Bucko at a Steagles reunion in Pittsburgh in 2003. What a character. He was 82 then, but still built like a tank. He was kind and supportive, and he laughed a lot, a laugh that sounded like machine-gun fire: Ha ha ha ha ha.
Bucko was in poor health the past couple years, yet he never failed to return my calls when I had a quick question or wanted to check a fact. A true gentleman he was.
Bucko is the fifth member of the Steagles to pass away since my book about the team was published last fall. Now just three remain: Ray Graves, Allie Sherman, and Al Wistert.