The Chicago Bears’ league leading Hall Of Fame count grew by two more today as offensive tackle Jimbo Covert and defensive end Ed Sprinkle both were elected to be enshrined in Canton.
Both Covert and Sprinkle were named as a part of the NFL’s Centennial Class of 2020 by a special Blue-Ribbon Panel brought together to honor deserving players, coaches and contributors that have been overlooked in the past.
But just because these honorees have been selected under special circumstances, that doesn’t mean they are any less deserving.
Covert played for the Bears from 1983 to 1990 and he was one of the best left tackles of his generation. He was named to the 1980s All-Decade First-Team, he made 2 Pro Bowls, 2 First-Team All-Pros, 1 Second-Team All-Pro, he made the All-Rookie Team, and he was a member of their 1985 Super Bowl team.
He was the 6th overall pick by the Bears in the NFL Draft out of Pittsburgh, his #75 is retired by the Panthers, and he’s a member of the College Football Hall Of Fame.
If it wasn’t for a back injury he sustained in 1987, Covert could have played longer than his nine years. He famously faced off with New York Giants’ Hall of Fame outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor on three different occasions and he held him without a sack.
We voted him as the 24th greatest Bear of all time on our WCG Top 100 Bears Players list.
Also, you’ve got to check out Bill Zimmerman’s exclusive interview with Covert on his Bears Banter podcast.
Sprinkle was know as “The Meanest Man in Pro Football” during his 12 year NFL career, all with the Bears. From 1944 to 1956 “The Claw” (so nicknamed due to his clothesline tackling technique) terrorized teams with a tough, play to the whistle mentality. He began his career as a two way player, but once he focused on the defensive side of the ball his career took off. He was a four time Pro Bowler, twice named First-Team All-Pro, three Second-Team All-Pros, he was voted to the NFL 1940s All-Decade Team, he was number 40 on our All-Time Bears player list, and he helped the Bears to the NFL Championship in 1946.
During his career he had 32 catches for 451 yards and 7 touchdowns, and on defense he had 4 interceptions and 12 fumble recoveries. Although sacks weren’t an official statistic back when he played, George Halas called Sprinkle “the greatest pass rusher I’ve ever seen,” and Sprinkle even recalled getting 5 sacks in one game.
In an interview with the National Football Post from several years ago, Sprinkle was asked about his chances of making the Pro Football Hall of Fame some day. “My personal opinion is that politics played into getting players into the Hall of Fame that didn’t deserve it. I feel like I deserve to be in the Hall of Fame. It probably won’t happen.”
Politics may have prevented this honor before, but thanks to the Blue-Ribbon Panel Ed Sprinkle is a member of the NFL’s Centennial Class of 2020.
There are 35 total members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame that have ties to the Bears, but 30 that spent the large portion of their careers in the Windy City.