Rest in Peace #10 Brad VanPelt

I am saddened with a tremendous sense of loss with the passing of my old teammate Brad VanPelt. Brad was a great player when we played together for the New York Giants. I was honored to join him and Brian Kelly as the linebackers in mid 1976. We played well together as a group and with their support I was able to learn and somewhat master the position I was asked to play by the Giants coaches. We knew we were a good trio playing for the Giants defense in the late 1970s but we rose to a much higher level with addition of Lawrence Taylor. We became known as the “Crunch Bunch” a quartet of the best linebackers in the National Football League of the early 80s. With his tall frame, boyishly good looks, blond hair and wearing his #10 jersey Brad played with great pride representing the New York Football Giants. Most people will live with those memories when they hear the name Brad VanPelt.

I will always live with the relationships I formed with all of my teammates. To me, those are the things I carry with me long after the wins and losses. Brad, Brian and Lawrence are like my brothers that I love as if they are really my next of kin. The laughs we shared and the personal issues we’ve supported one another through have bound us together for life. After our playing days we joined one another yearly to play golf together in Hawaii for the NFL Charities Tournaments. We spoke frequently either on the phone or when we were all in the New York area or anytime we were together taking part in events. But two of the more special times that I will always embrace were going the Mexico to help build homes with former President Jimmy Carter for Habitat for Humanity and visiting the wounded soldier returning from Iraq at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC. It was during those times that we very seldom talked about football. Actually it wasn’t about talking about anything it was more about just being in the presence of one another that was soothing to our collective souls. As former football players we took great joy in doing good works and making people smile.

Brad was a wonderful and loyal friend who died much too soon. With his wisdom, his passion for helping others, his zest for living and broad smile there was much he should have been able to contribute to make a difference in the lives of many people, especially young athletes.

I love my teammates! And right now I’m missing one of my favorites, Brad VanPelt.

5 thoughts on “Rest in Peace #10 Brad VanPelt”

  1. Thank you Harry for the wonderful words you have given us today in tribute to Brad Van Pelt. I had the honor of knowing you guys back in the day (my dad is the old BB Richie) and will always remember fondly Brads smile and laugh, he was such an important part of my youth and my family sends you their condolances on the passing of your “brother”.


  3. I never met Mr. Van Pelt but will never forget the first time I saw him in person. I was 6 years old and the Giants were playing the Baltimore Colts at Shea Stadium. When the defense stepped onto the field, the first two players I saw were Mr. Van Pelt and Jack Gregory. Since this was my first live game, the image of these two Giants are ingrained in my mind forever. As I got older, I recognized how good the Crunch Bunch was and how lucky Giant fans were to have such talent. We may not have won many games in those days but the defense, especially the Crunch Bunch, were a never-ending source of pride. Rest in peace Mr. Van Pelt. Although you left us much too soon, you are a Giant forever and will never be forgotten. Thanks for the memories.

  4. I really wish I would have taken that 40 minute drive from Ventura to Santa Barbara more often. To be that close to family and never see them, there is no excuse for it!!!!!! Brad is a second cousin of mine on my fathers side. I never had the opportunity to watch him play since I was 3 when he retired but because of him and some other great athletes in our family I have the opportunity to tell my children about them and how they to could accomplish great things with some hard work and dedication. Im am more than proud to carry the Van Pelt last name!

  5. Thank you, Harry, for your remembrance of BVP. I was at MSU when he was–even saw him pitch once–and, being from Philly, later learned what it’s like to be a fan of a team playing against Brad’s team (no fun!). What an accomplished athlete, team player, kind person and class act. Thank you.

Comments are closed.