Maxie Baughan, one of the most dominant linebackers of the 1960s, died Saturday at the age of 85.
Baughan forged his initial path of ferocity and athleticism with the Eagles, who drafted him in the second round of the 1960 NFL Draft and quickly installed him as a starter. He played five years in Philadelphia before a trade sent him to Los Angeles, where he finished out the other half of the decade with the Rams.
He split nine Pro Bowl campaigns between the two teams, falling short of the honor just once during the 1960s. Baughan, five times a second-team All-Pro and once a member of the first-team, was inducted into the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame in 2015 and is one of 12 semifinalists in the seniors category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2024.
Baughan’s Eagles won the NFL Championship during the linebacker’s 1960 rookie season. But after a second straight 10-win season the following year fell short, Philadelphia struggled to recapture success over the coming years, even as Baughan’s star rose.
The linebacker continued on with the club until Philly traded him to the Rams in 1966, a team that afforded him a better shot at contending.
From 1967-1970, Baughan served as a core member of a Rams team that won 41 games and twice reached the Divisional Round of the playoffs. He retired following his fifth season with Los Angeles and began serving as a defensive coordinator for his alma mater, Georgia Tech.
He briefly interrupted his new chapter when Washington convinced him to serve as a player-coach during the 1974 season. He suited up for just two games before returning for good to the sideline, first as the Baltimore Colts’ DC.
Baughan’s coaching career spanned another 23 years after that, with other stops as the defensive coordinator for the Lions, head coach of Cornell and linebackers coach for the Vikings, Buccaneers and Ravens along the way. He retired from his last post in 1998.
Having spent 29 years either playing or coaching in the NFL, Baughan owns an enduring place in the history of the Eagles, Rams and across the league.
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