Fred Dean, Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and two-time Super Bowl winner, died Wednesday at the age of 68.
Although sacks did not become an official recorded stat until the twilight of his career, Dean was a prolific and feared pass-rusher during his 11-year career between the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers.
Born in Louisiana, Dean played his college football at Louisiana Tech, where he was on some dominant teams before the Chargers selected him 33rd overall in the 1975 draft.
Dean spent the first six full seasons of his career in San Diego, earning his first Pro Bowl selection in 1979 and first All-Pro nod the next year. Three games into the 1981 season, the San Francisco 49ers traded for the 6-foot-3, 230-pound lineman, and Dean rewarded that decision by being an All-Pro for the second straight season.
Playing for legendary San Francisco coach Bill Walsh, Dean won two Super Bowls (XVI and XIX). In 1983, he made the Pro Bowl for the fourth and final time in his career.
Sacks did not become an official stat until the 1982 season, when Dean was limited to nine games and one start. But in the next season, he recorded 17.5 sacks. His 141-game career ended after the 1985 season and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2008.
According to the San Jose Mercury News, former 49ers teammate Dwight Hicks posted on his private Facebook account that Dean had been battling COVID-19. No cause of death was given in the Hall of Fame’s death announcement.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing 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 forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Fred’s memory.”
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