Sports Outside the Beltway

NY Giants Pro Bowl linebacker Brad Van Pelt dies of heart attack at 57

I remember Van Pelt very well. That in spite of my being a Jet fan. Most of my family were Met and Giant fans who hate the Yankees but were at worst indifferent about the Jets. That’s how I felt and feel towards the Giants today and when Van Pelt played for them. RIP.

Giants great Brad Van Pelt is dead of an apparent heart attack at age 57.

He was found in his chair by his fiancée Tuesday at the house they recently purchased together in his hometown of Owosso, Michigan, according to former teammates Harry Carson and Brian Kelley.

Together with Lawrence Taylor, they formed the unit known as the Crunch Bunch, considered one of the top linebacking corps in Giants history, from 1981 to ’83. They have remained close ever since, doing everything from golf outings to charity work together.

“I’m saddened,” Carson told the Daily News. “I lost a teammate and my very good friend, He went much too soon at 57.”

“Un-frigging-believable,” Kelley told the Daily News. “He didn’t deserve this. He was just a good person, such a great guy who would give you the shirt off his back. He wasn’t material, he didn’t own a lot of things. My wife nailed it when she said he had the Peter Pan Syndrome. He just never wanted to grow up.”

“Deanna (his fiancée) walked into the house. He was sitting up in the chair smiling but he wasn’t moving,” Kelley said. “She called 911 but he’d been gone for a couple of hours. I called her this morning. She said he was smiling so obviously he went peacefully.”

Kelley said he called Taylor with news Tuesday night and all L.T, could say was, “No, no, no.”

Van Pelt was the Giants’ first draft pick out of Michigan State in 1973 and spent the first 11 years of a 14-year NFL career with them.

Although he enjoyed just one winning season as a Giant, when the team reached the playoffs in 1981, he was voted the team’s Player of the Decade for the 1970s and was a five-time Pro Bowl selection. After leaving the Giants, he played two years for the Raiders before ending his career with Cleveland in 1986.

Van Pelt, who also starred in baseball and played basketball at Michigan State, was a two-time All American safety and the 1972 winner of the Maxwell Award as the nation’s best player. He was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2001 and nominated for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2005.

Van Pelt’s son, Bradlee, was a backup quarterback for the Broncos and Texans and just two weeks ago, was given a tryout as a safety by the Giants. His father, Arnold, passed away from a heart attack at age 49 in 1976.

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