Parmer helped build '85 Bears

Updated: April 20, 2005, 4:49 PM ET
By Chris Mortensen | ESPN Insider

Jim Parmer, former running back for the Philadelphia Eagles and a chief scout who was instrumental in building the 1985 Super Bowl champion Chicago Bears, died early Wednesday in Lubbock, Texas. Parmer just turned 79.

Parmer died of natural causes, according to his grandson, Jeff Ireland, who was just recently named as the personnel director for the Dallas Cowboys.

"I guess it's ironic that he died during draft week -- he spent 35 years as a scout," said Ireland. "He was my inspiration. I spent (seven) summers with him, often sitting in film rooms with a 16 millimeter projector just watching football, looking at players. That's how I fell in love with scouting."

Parmer was the college scouting director for the Bears and was credited with putting his stamp on several key players that helped win the '85 title. He particularly endorsed defensive tackle Dan Hampton, a future Hall of Famer who was not highly-regarded as a draft prospect out of Arkansas. Hampton mentioned Parmer in his Hall of Fame speech.

Parmer was a running back for the Eagles from 1948-56 and was a member of their championship teams in '48 and '49. He also started his scouting career with the Eagles.

"He was a heck of a scout and a darned good football player," said Jim Gallagher, who was a former public relations director and personnel director of the Eagles.

Parmer was a halfback at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) before he signed with the Eagles. He played in the 1946 Sugar Bowl when Oklahoma A&M defeated St. Mary's 33-13.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen is a regular contributor to Insider. He chats every Wednesday in The Show.