Home / Sport / Fred Dean, Hall of Fame DE for 49ers and Chargers, dies aged 68; the former teammate said he had COVID-19

Fred Dean, Hall of Fame DE for 49ers and Chargers, dies aged 68; the former teammate said he had COVID-19

Fred Dean, a Hall of Fame defender with the Chargers and 49ers, died Wednesday after battling COVID-19, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced. Dean was 68 years old. Former 49ers teammate Dwight Hicks posted on Facebook on October 8 that Dean had been hospitalized in intensive care with COVID-19.

“I just learned that my 49er teammate Fred Dean has been taken to the hospital and is on a ventilator in the ICU,” read Hicks’ post via the Mercury News.

A round two pick in the 1975 NFL Draft, Dean blossomed into an All-Pro player during his stint with the Chargers. In 1979, his presence helped the Chargers secure their first division title after the AFL-NFL merger. The following season, Dean helped San Diego get into a Super Bowl game.

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981, a contractual dispute led to Dean being swapped from San Diego to San Francisco. The business paid immediate dividends for the 49ers, who won their first of five Super Bowl titles that season. He recorded one of five San Francisco sacks during the 49ers’ 26-21 win over the Bengals in Super Bowl XVI.

“He was the strongest opponent I’ve ever faced,” recalled Bengals Hall of Fame offensive lineman Anthony Munoz, via the Official state register.

In 1983, Dean earned his fourth Pro Bowl selection after recording 17.5 bags. The following season, his presence helped San Francisco become the first team to win 15 regular season games. In Super Bowl XIX, Dean and his teammates pinned down Dan Marino and the rest of the Dolphins ‘prolific offense during the 49ers’ 38-16 win.

The following is a statement from Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker:

The entire family of the Pro Football Hall of Fame mourns the death of Fred Dean. He exemplified many of the values ​​learned from this great game – commitment, integrity, courage – throughout his life. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Fred’s wife, Pam, and their entire family. We will keep his legacy alive forever to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will fly in the middle of the staff in memory of Fred.

Dean played one final season before retiring before the 1986 season began. He joined several of his former teammates in Canton, Ohio in 2008.

“When it came to rounding the corner, no one was faster or faster than Fred Dean,” said Chargers Hall of Fame receiver Charlie Joiner of Dean. “He was also tremendously strong. If he weighed 225, his upper body was 210.”

While he wasn’t the first, Dean, who unofficially scored 93 sacks for his career despite only making 82 starts, showed just how effective a pass rush specialist can be on the outcome of a match.

“When he was in San Diego, they dropped him from side to side,” said Hall of Fame general manager Ron Wolf. “Ted Hendricks, Lawrence Taylor, they moved too. But I think Dean was the first … When we played, we had to make sure we took Dean into account in every game. And you had to hurry up and convince the players. The pitch for. block it. “

Dean was also a kindred spirit who was loved by his teammates for his laid back demeanor.

“One of the first times I met Fred, he’s lying on a bench in our weight room and smoking a cigarette,” recalled former 49ers center Randy Cross. And I looked down and said, “Fred, what are you doing man?” He said, “Well, I was thinking about lifting weights, but I thought I could lay here until I got over it.”

“James Dean,” added Hall of Fame 49ers security Ronnie Lott, “was not as cool as Fred Dean.”

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