Fred Dean San Diego Chargers & San Francisco 49ers
"I want to live with myself and soul/I want to be able for myself to know/I want to stand and see the sun/And not hate myself for the things I’ve done/I want to be able as days go by/To always look myself straight in the eye/And feel that I never have to lie/To myself.”
Fred Dean excelled as an All-Southland Conference linebacker during his collegiate football career at Louisiana Tech. The San Diego Chargers selected him in the second round, 33rd player overall, of the 1975 NFL Draft. Dean was moved immediately to the defensive line where he starred during his entire NFL career, first with the Chargers (1975-1981) and later with the San Francisco 49ers (1981-1985).
Dean’s quickness, speed, and strength made him one of the league’s most feared pass rushers during his 141-game career. Although the sack did not become an official NFL statistic until 1982, if numbers tallied by the teams were included with his official sack count, Dean’s career sack total would stand near 100.
His role as an impact player became apparent very early in his career. As a rookie for the Chargers in 1975, Dean recorded seven sacks, 93 tackles (63 solo, 30 assists), and four fumble recoveries. With Dean doing his part on defense and combined with the Chargers’ high-flying offense, the team became a strong playoff contender. In 1978, he recorded 15.5 sacks as the Chargers posted a winning record. He followed that season by adding nine sacks in 1979 and 10.5 in 1980 as San Diego claimed two straight AFC Western Division championships.
Early in the 1981 season, Dean was shipped to the San Francisco 49ers were he continued to demonstrate his extraordinary talent. Dean contributed 12 sacks in 11 games for the 49ers en route to the team’s first Super Bowl victory.
Dean’s finest year came two seasons later when he led the NFC with a career-high 17.5 sacks. Included in that total was a then NFL record six sacks in one game. He set the mark during the 49ers’ 27-0 shutout of the New Orleans Saints on November 13, 1983.
In all, Dean played on five division winners. He played in three NFC championship games and in two of San Francisco’s Super Bowl victories (Super Bowls XVI and XIX). Dean earned all-conference honors four times – twice with the Chargers and twice with the 49ers.
He was also named to four Pro Bowls (1980-1982, 1984) and selected All-Pro twice (1980-1981).