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Press Release



July 20, 2006

Inspirational football player Vince Papale to be featured speaker


Former Philadelphia Eagles walk-on legend Vince Papale will be the featured speaker at Cowley College’s Robert Brown Theatre. The public is welcome and there is no cost to attend the event, which will be held Aug. 30 at 9 a.m. A reception will follow in the Brown Center’s Wright Room at 10 a.m.

Papale made a Cinderella rise from Philadelphia Eagles 30-year-old season ticket holder to Philadelphia Eagles football player in an instant. He later became the team captain in what became the stuff that dreams are made of.

His story is the subject of a forthcoming book and a major motion picture from the same producers of Disney's acclaimed real life sports dramas Miracle and The Rookie. Mark Wahlberg plays Papale, and Greg Kinnear portrays Philadelphia Eagles coach Dick Vermeil. The film version of Papale’s story, Invincible, will be released in August.

In 1976, Papale was working as a schoolteacher and a part-time bartender. Philadelphia Eagles’ then-rookie head coach Dick Vermeil held a press conference and invited locals, including Papale, who was a former track star, to a workout. The rest is history.

Papale showed up at the workout and ran a world-class time of 4.5 in the 40-yard dash. Coach Vermeil offered Papale a contract on the spot, but the 30-year-old walk-on still had to make the team. Papale overcame tremendous odds to become the oldest rookie in the history of the NFL.

He eventually became a team captain and played in the NFL for four years. He was voted Man of the Year by the Eagles in 1978, for his many charitable activities and honored by the NFL. His never say die attitude became the inspiration for turning the Eagles into a Super Bowl team.

After retiring with the Eagles after the 1979 season he was a TV and Radio broadcaster for eight years. After that Papale entered the world of commercial mortgage banking, which lead to his present position as a Marketing Executive for Sallie Mae. 

Papale has served as chairman or co-chairman for various associations including the Philadelphia Vietnam Veterans, Spina Bifada Association, Multiple Sclerosis Society and the American Heart Association.

The positive attitude, determination, and work ethic Papale showed as an Eagles player was put to the test five years ago when he found out he had cancer. He is now a cancer survivor and is a national spokesperson for colorectal cancer prevention.

His inspirational journey from humble working class beginnings and troubled home life to successful professional athlete and businessman is a story that audiences of all demographics will relate to.