Former Chargers defensive end Fred Dean passed away Wednesday at the age of 68. He played for the Chargers from 1975-1981 and then the 49ers from 1981-1985. He was known for his speed, strength and quickness.
"Fred was one of the most feared defenders to ever play the game and yet, off the field, you would be hard pressed to find a kinder human being," said Chargers owner and chairman of the board Dean Spanos. "He was a gentle giant with a smile matched only by his own sheer size. Everyone who knew Fred was better for it, and we are all terribly saddened by his loss. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife Pam and the entire Dean family."
Prior to his career with the Niners where he won two Super Bowls, his path started with the Chargers. Dean was selected out of Louisiana Tech by the Bolts in the second round of the 1975 NFL Draft. Originally a linebacker, he made the switch to defensive end where he quickly became one of the most feared pass rushers in the league.
Though sacks weren't considered an official NFL stat until 1982, it is believed he notched nearly 100 during his career. He holds the No. 5 spot on the Chargers' all-time sacks list with an unofficial team total of 53.5.
He was named to four Pro Bowls (1980-1982, 1984) and was a two-time All-Pro (1980-81.) He is also a member of the Chargers' 40th and 50th Anniversary Teams.
Dean was inducted into the Chargers Hall of Fame in 2008 and in the same year, was enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Fred Dean," said Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker. "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."