PHILADELPHIA (973espn.com) - One of the top safeties in Eagles history passed away on Friday morning, former All-Pro Wes Hopkins.

The hard-hitting, back-end defender was one of the signature players in one of his generation's most well-respected defenses, which also included Pro Football Hall of Famer Reggie White and recent Eagles HOF inductees, Seth Joyner and Clyde Simmons.

Hopkins, along with Andre Waters, were perhaps the most intimidating safety duo of the era. He spent his entire 10-year professional career on Philadelphia after arriving as a second-round pick out of SMU in 1983.

Hopkins ranks fifth on the franchise’s all-time interceptions list with 30 and is tied for third all-time in games played among defensive backs with 137. His best season was in In 1985 when he earned first-team All-Pro honors.

“Wes Hopkins is one of the best safeties in the history of our franchise and played a major role in the team’s success during his time here in Philadelphia,” said Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie. “He was well-respected among his teammates and coaches, not only because of the way he played the game and what he was able to accomplish on the field, but also because of the way he carried himself and the type of leader he was."

Hopkins, who was just 57 when he passed, had his career interrupted by a devastating knee injury in 1986 but ultimately returned after nearly a two-year rehab.

"He had a genuine love of the game and that’s one of the reasons he connected so well with the people of Philadelphia," Lurie said. "Wes will be forever remembered as an Eagles Legend and somebody who helped build the foundation for our organization’s success. Our thoughts are with his family during this time.”

A two-time All-Southwest Conference safety at SMU, Hopkins was inducted into the school's HOF back in March.

Former teammate Garry Cobb announced Hopkins' passing and the Eagles confirmed the sad news later in the day.

-John McMullen covers the Eagles and the NFL for 973espn.com. You can reach him at jmcmullen44@gmail.com or on Twitter @JFMcMullen