OWOSSO, Mich. (AP) -- Brad Van Pelt,
a five-time Pro Bowl player with the
New York Giants who helped form one
of the NFL's best linebacking corps in
the early 1980s, has died. He was 57.

A second-round draft choice out of
Michigan State in 1973, Van Pelt played
14 seasons in the NFL, 11 with the Giants.
Although he played on only one winning team
in New York, he made the Pro Bowl five
consecutive seasons from 1976-1980.

Van Pelt's only winning season with the Giants
came in 1981, when Lawrence Taylor was
drafted and the team made the playoffs for
the first time in 18 seasons. Van Pelt played
strong side linebacker with Taylor on the
weak side and Harry Carson and Brian Kelley
in the middle of a group called the
"Crunch Bunch."

Van Pelt left the Giants in 1983 and spent
two seasons with the Los Angeles Raiders
before finishing his career with Cleveland
in 1986.He played in 184 regular season
games and had 20 interceptions and 241/2
sacks."Brad was a very good friend," said
Carson,who like Taylor is a member of the
Pro Football Hall of Fame. "Obviously he
was a great teammate, but I consider him
more of a very good friend and very much
like a brother. Having played together
for a number of years ... but then
the relationship after football and the
things that we did as a group of linebackers
after football, those things really bonded
us together."

Van Pelt was inducted into the Michigan State
Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000 and the College
Football Hall of Fame, in a class with
Steve Young, the following year. He wore
No. 10 in college and then with the Giants,
although that was not a number linebackers
were supposed to wear. "They were
supposed to give me a number in the 50s
or 90s," he said. But I was also a backup
kicker in college, which I also was my rookie
year with the Giants.

"They said, 'the league might give us a problem,
but we'll give it to you as a kicker that happens
to play linebacker.' It helped my career. I
started to get to be a better linebacker and
I started getting noticed a little more with
that number. They couldn't forget it. 'Ten'
just doesn't belong out there on defense.
It was a lucky number for me."