NFL Hall of Fame defensive end Fred Dean has passed away at the of 68. No cause of death has been confirmed, but his former teammate Dwight Hicks previously told fans that Dean had been hospitalized due to the coronavirus.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Fred Dean," NFL Hall of Fame President David Baker said.
"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."
Dean was drafted in to the NFL by the San Diego Chargers after a standout career at Louisiana Tech. After playing linebacker in college, the Chargers shifted him to the defensive end position. He earned his first Pro Bowl berth in 1979 and an All-Pro spot in 1980. In 1981, the Chargers traded Dean to the San Francisco 49ers for a second-round draft pick. In his first season, Dean piled up 12 sacks, earned an All-Pro slot and helped the San Francisco 49ers. Two years later, he set the NFL record for most sacks in a game with six against the New Orleans Saints. In his final NFL season, Dean helped the San Francisco 49ers pick up another Super Bowl title by beating the Miami Dolphins.
"While it cannot be said that Fred Dean's greatness as an NFL player began when he came to the 49ers in 1981, I can say as the owner of the team that the greatness of the 49ers began with Fred Dean's arrival in San Francisco," Former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr. said.
Dean was inducted into the Louisiana Tech Athletic Hall of Fame in 1990. Twenty-nine years later, he was enshrined into the NFL Hall of Fame.
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