SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) — Former 49ers player Fred Dean died Wednesday at age 68.
His official cause of death has not been confirmed, but he was recently hospitalized for the coronavirus.
The Hall of Fame inductee played in San Francisco from 1981-1985. “Dean’s quickness, speed, and strength made him one of the league’s most feared pass rushers during his 141-game career,” the Pro Football Hall of Fame site said.
Dean helped the 49ers into their first Super Bowl win in 1981 against the Cincinnati Bengals, where they won 26-21. With Dean, they earned the Super Bowl championship again in 1985 — beating the Dolphins 38-16.
The team released the following statement about Dean’s passing:
“The 49ers family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of the game’s all-time greats, Fred Dean. Fred not only impacted countless opposing quarterbacks throughout his career, but also the future of the game of football as one of the NFL’s first true pass rushing specialists. Although sacks did not become an official NFL statistic until Fred’s eighth season in the league, his 93.5 sacks would rank among the top 50 all-time to this day.
From the minute he joined the 49ers, Fred immediately helped to change the team’s fortunes. In just his first game with the team, he put in an all-time performance against the Dallas Cowboys that not only helped defeat a nemesis but propelled the 49ers to our first Super Bowl Championship later that year.
As the 49ers marched through the NFL, often having opponents on the ropes early in games, Fred was referred to by his teammates as “The Closer” for his ability to deliver the knockout blow to opposing offenses. One of the most feared defenders in the game, he is remembered as a quiet, fun-loving, sincere, country gentleman. Fred’s accolades were numerous, but his love for the game, his teammates and those close to him are what endeared him to so many.”
Fred Dean’s Championship Games (via Pro Football Hall of Fame):
1980 AFC – Oakland Raiders 34, San Diego Chargers 27
Dean started at right defensive end. He recorded nine tackles and 1.5 sacks in the game.
1981 NFC – San Francisco 49ers 28, Dallas Cowboys 27
Dean played but did not start. He recorded one tackle assist in the game.
1983 NFC – Washington Redskins 24, San Francisco 49ers 21
Dean played but did not start. He recorded two tackles and one sack in the game.
1984 NFC – San Francisco 49ers 23, Chicago Bears 0
Dean played but did not start. He recorded one tackle, two assists and one sack in the game.
Super Bowl XVI – San Francisco 49ers 26, Cincinnati Bengals 21
Dean started at defensive end. He recorded one tackle and one sack in the game.
Super Bowl XIX – San Francisco 49ers 38, Miami Dolphins 16
Dean played but did not start. He recorded one tackle and one assist.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Fred Dean. 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.”Hall of Fame President & CEO David Baker
- Dash cam captures smash and grab near SF’s Lombard Street
- Dangerous winds trigger Red Flag Warning, outages
- East Bay agencies urge precautionary evacuations ahead of wind event
- Black woman shot by officer seeks justice from hospital bed
- Trump supporters, counter-protesters clash in Times Square