Pro Football Hall of Famer Fred Dean passed away late Wednesday night. He was 68 years old.
“The entire family of the Pro Football Hall of Fame mourns the death of Fred Dean,” Hall of Fame president and CEO David Baker said in a statement. “He exemplified many of the values learned from this great game – commitment, integrity, courage – over the course of his life. Our thoughts and prayers are with Fred’s wife, Pam, and their entire family. We will keep forever the his legacy alive to serve as an inspiration for future generations “.
After a remarkable collegiate career at linebacker for Louisiana Tech, Dean entered the NFL as a second-round pick of the then San Diego Chargers in 1
Dean played for the Chargers until 1981, when he joined the San Francisco 49ers via trade for a second pick in the draft. Known for his combination of speed and power, Dean made an immediate impact for the Niners, amassing 12 sacks (unofficially, as sacks did not become an official stat until 1982) in 11 matches and earning a nod to All -Pro how Niners won Super Bowl XVI.
Two years later, Dean had his best NFL season, finishing with 17.5 sack, most in the NFC. This included a six NFL record in a game against the New Orleans Saints as he earned his fourth and final Pro Bowl honor.
In 1985, Dean and the Niners won another championship, beating the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX.
“I might consider he was born to the Chargers but has a life of renewal with the 49ers,” Dean said in his Hall of Fame speech. “And being with the 49ers, I found that on the other side of that bridge, on the other side was my rainbow, the real ending of a rainbow. Not financially, but with everyone present.”
Dean retired after the 1985 season, having played 141 games in 11 seasons. He was consecrated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 2, 2008. Former Niners owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. introduced Dean for induction and often referred to him as one of the missing pieces that put the 49ers over the top. stripes.
“While it cannot be said that Fred Dean’s greatness as an NFL player began when he joined the 49ers in 1981, I can say as the owner of the team that the greatness of the 49ers began with the arrival of Fred Dean in San Francisco.” , DeBartolo said then.
Dean was born on February 24, 1952 in Arcadia, Louisiana, and attended Ruston High before joining Louisiana Tech. He was selected four times at the All-Southland Conference for the Bulldogs, who won the 1973 Division II National Championship and four consecutive Southland Conference titles with Dean racking up 392 career tackles. He was inducted into the National Football Foundation Hall of Fame in 2009 and the Louisiana Tech Hall of Fame in 1990.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.