Former Chicago Bears offensive lineman Jimbo Covert was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as part of a special 20-man centennial class on Wednesday. The class was composed in honor of the NFL’s 100th season, and Covert’s inclusion was announced on the NFL Network.
The Pitt alum was a three-time All-Pro, earning back-to-back consensus first-team honors in 1985 and 1986, and he was named Offensive Lineman of the Year after both seasons. In addition, the lineman made the NFL’s 1980s All-Decade team, and until Wednesday, he was the only member of the 1980s All-Decade team excluded from the Hall of Fame,
Covert played in the NFL from 1983 to 1990 and spent his entire pro career with the Bears organization. During that time, he was coached by Pitt great Mike Ditka, who was partially responsible for Covert’s selection with the sixth pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL draft.
“Jimbo’s the guy we wanted,” Ditka said of Covert. “From Day 1, we put him at left tackle and moved on. You don’t get too many people who come along who can make that impact. He had the respect of all his teammates and all his coaches.”
Covert blocked for fellow Hall of Famer Walter Payton for five seasons, and with their help, Ditka led the Bears to their only Super Bowl victory to date in the 1985 season. Of all the linemen who blocked for Payton in his 13-year career, Covert is the first to be honored with a bust in Canton.
The native of Conway, Pennsylvania, played at Pitt from 1978 to 1982 and is regarded as one of the program’s all-time greats. As such, his number 75 was retired in 2015, and he gained entry into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003. Covert is the ninth Pitt alum to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He joins Ditka, Chris Doleman, Tony Dorsett, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Joe Schmidt in the Hall of Fame.