Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fred Dean To Enter Chargers Hall Of Fame

Defensive end Fred Dean, a four-time Pro Bowl selection during his 11-year career and 2008 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee, has been selected as the 34th member of the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame.

The formal induction ceremony will take place at halftime of the Chargers game against the New England Patriots on October 12.

“Fred was such a dominating player. He had the ability to take over and control a game,” said Chargers President Dean Spanos. “Teams needed to use more than one player to block Fred. No single player could block him.”

“The Chargers Hall of Fame is a great honor for me,” Dean said. “So many of my teammates have made it into the Chargers Hall of Fame, and now I get to join them. It’s very touching to me.”

A standout college linebacker at Louisiana Tech, the Chargers selected Dean in the second round of the 1975 NFL Draft and moved him to defensive end, where he spent his entire professional career. Dean represented a new breed of smaller but quicker defensive ends and was one of the most feared pass rushers of his era. He used his speed and quickness to fly past offensive tackles and reach opposing quarterbacks.

The NFL did not make sacks an official statistic until 1982, but numbers kept by teams indicate that he recorded nearly 100 sacks during his 11-year career. In 1978, Dean unofficially posted 15.5 sacks, which would be the third-highest single-season mark in Chargers history were it official. He unofficially logged nine sacks in 1979 and 10.5 in 1980.

“Those teams had a family bond,” Dean said. “Especially the guys I played with in the defensive line -- Louie Kelcher, Wilbur Young, Charles DeJurnett, Gary Johnson and Leroy Jones. And guys on the offensive line like Russ Washington and Doug Wilkerson to name a couple. Those are the guys I remember when I think about the Chargers.”

Early in the 1981 season, Dean was traded to the San Francisco 49ers where he continued to thrive as a disruptive force.

Dean played for five division winners during his 11-year career. He played in three NFC championship games and in two of San Francisco’s Super Bowl victories. Dean earned all-conference honors four times – twice with the Chargers and twice with the 49ers. He was also named to four Pro Bowls (1980-82, 1984) and selected All-Pro twice (1980-1981).

Dean also is headed to Canton, Ohio this year for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He was one of six players voted in this year.

Dean is joined in the 2008 Hall of Fame class by a pair of former Washington Redskins, cornerback Darrell Green and wide receiver Art Monk, as well as former Patriots linebacker Andre Tippett, Vikings and Broncos offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman and Chiefs cornerback Emmitt Thomas. Inductions will be at the Pro Football Hall of Game in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 2.

“I thought Fred Dean was the best pass rusher in the National Football League,” said former teammate and Pro Football Hall of Famer Charlie Joiner. “He was a great football player and if he had any more size I think he would’ve been selected to the Hall of Fame earlier. He was kind of on the small side but he was extremely strong and he played so hard on every down. He was a great player and a great teammate.”

Fredrick Rudolph Dean, 56, was born in Arcadia, Louisiana and played football for the Ruston High Bearcats. Dean continued his playing career at Louisiana Tech University, named all-Southland Conference on teams that won 44 of 48 games.

Dean will join 33 members in the Chargers Hall of Fame, including (in order of induction): wide receiver Lance Alworth, tackle Ron Mix, running back Paul Lowe, running back Keith Lincoln, majority owner Barron Hilton, defensive tackle Ernie Ladd, guard Walt Sweeney, quarterback John Hadl, linebacker Chuck Allen, wide receiver Gary Garrison, head coach Sid Gillman, defensive end Earl Faison, quarterback Dan Fouts, wide receiver Charlie Joiner, head coach Don Coryell, cornerback Leslie “Speedy” Duncan, tight end Kellen Winslow, tackle Russ Washington, minority owner George Pernicano, kicker Rolf Benirschke, cornerback Gill Byrd, defensive lineman Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, offensive lineman Doug Wilkerson, wide receiver Wes Chandler, quarterback Stan Humphries, head coach Bobby Ross, defensive tackle Louie Kelcher, Tackle Ed White and Guard Don Macek. Linebackers Frank Buncom, Emil Karas, Bob Laraba, and tight end Jacque MacKinnon were all inducted posthumously as honorary members into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 1976.

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