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Fred Dean (1952–2020), Pro Football Hall of Famer with Chargers and 49ers

by Linnea Crowther

Fred Dean was an NFL defensive end who played for the San Diego Chargers and San Francisco 49ers, winning two Super Bowls with the 49ers.

Hall of Fame career

After playing college football at Louisiana Tech University, Dean was drafted by the Chargers in the second round of the 1975 draft. In the years before sacks became an official NFL stat, Dean helped the Chargers lead the league in sacks in 1980, with 60 sacks. With Dean, the Chargers won their division in 1979 and 1980, but he was traded to the 49ers in 1981 after a contract dispute. He helped the 49ers to victory in Super Bowls XVI and XIX, and he set a league record in 1983 with six sacks in one game. Dean was a Pro Bowl pick in 1979, 1980, 1981, and 1983, and he was named first team All-Pro in 1980 and 1981. Dean retired from the NFL after the 1985 season. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008 and to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

Notable quote

“I could consider it being born by the Chargers but having a renewal life with the 49ers. And being with the 49ers, I found that on the other side of that bridge, on the other side was my rainbow, the true ending of a rainbow. Not financially, but with all the people there.” —from Dean’s Hall of Fame speech


Tributes to Fred Dean

Full obituary: San Francisco Chronicle

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