The Eagles are saddened to learn of the passing of former tight end Dick Lucas, a member of the 1960 Championship Team. Lucas passed away on Wednesday in Philadelphia due to complications from COVID-19. He was 86 years old.
Lucas was the devoted husband of Barbara (Dunn) Lucas of West Chester, Pennsylvania for 59 years. In addition to his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Dr. Karen L. Lucas (Mark Harms); son, Brian K. Lucas (Shawna); daughter, Andrea L. Lucas (David Schubel); and four grandchildren: Alyssa Lucas, Michelle Lucas, Fiona Harms, and Isabel Harms.
Lucas was an Eagle before his NFL career started as the South Boston native played his college football for the Boston College Eagles. A 10th-round pick of the Chicago Bears in 1956, Lucas delayed the start to his pro career by fulfilling a two-year military commitment at the U.S. Marine Corps base in Quantico, Virginia. He was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant.
The 6-2, 213-pound Lucas joined the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1958, but suffered a leg injury that kept him out through the 1959 campaign. He was traded from Washington to the Eagles just before the start of the 1960 season. Lucas was unsure that he would get a fair chance with the Eagles, who were in need of help at tight end. Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive tackle Art Donovan, the Baltimore Colts legend and Boston College alumnus, explained how something special was brewing in Philadelphia.
Donovan's words turned out to be quite prophetic.
Lucas played all 13 games for the Eagles in 1960, including the historic NFL Championship victory over Vince Lombardi's Green Bay Packers.
"The team was a funny team," Lucas said in a previous interview for the special, A Championship Season: The 1960 Philadelphia Eagles, that was re-released on Friday. "We always thought we were better than what we were and we played better."
Lucas caught a career-high five touchdown passes in 1961, including one for the record books. In the season finale against Detroit, Lucas was on the receiving end of Sonny Jurgensen's 32nd and final touchdown pass that year. Jurgensen's single-season franchise record for touchdown passes stood until Carson Wentz surpassed it with 33 in 2017.
Lucas' four-year run with the Eagles came to a close in 1963. He finished with 30 receptions for 337 yards and six touchdowns. He made his home in West Chester, Pennsylvania and worked as an executive for the Merit Oil Company until he retired.
"He was the epitome of a football player in the 1960s in terms of what you would think of a football player," Lucas' son, Brian, said. "Rock-solid in his convictions. Loyal. If you weren't on his side, you had to watch your back."
Lucas remained close with the team, serving as president of the Philadelphia Eagles Alumni Association, participating in numerous golf tournaments and countless charitable events. He was also a Season Ticker Member and attended every home game last season except for one. For many years, Lucas rented an RV to tailgate in the parking lot before Eagles games. He enjoyed catching up with former teammates for reunions at Training Camp each year.
However, he was humble about his playing days. Brian Lucas said that he didn't learn many of the stories about his father as an Eagle until tributes were done about the 1960 team, especially around the 50th anniversary in 2010. Brian never saw his father wear his championship ring until later in life. Dick Lucas never kept any jerseys or paraphernalia.
"He was no-nonsense in that regard," Brian said of his father. "You do your job and you move on."
Lucas was proud to see another Eagles team win a championship. "Really thrilled," Brian said of his father's reaction to the 2017 Super Bowl Champions.
Dick Lucas watched the Eagles beat the Patriots in Super Bowl LII with family and friends at his assisted living home in West Chester. A few weeks earlier, the Eagles honored Lucas during the Divisional Round win over Atlanta. The Lucas family wanted to surprise him by taking him on the field before the game, but the stoic Lucas didn't want to be in the spotlight. He did agree to be shown on the videoboards from his seat, holding a No. 87 jersey.
The appreciation from the fans, understanding just how special it is to have a championship team in the city, brought a smile to Lucas' face.