The Pitt football program saw its ninth alum inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend, as Jimbo Covert earned enshrinement for his accomplishments with the Chicago Bears. The retired offensive lineman received his gold jacket on Friday and made a stir with his speech on Saturday, discussing his roots in Conway, Pennsylvania, and crediting Pitt for its role in his success.
Jimbo Covert's induction speech at the @ProFootballHOF last night in Canton— Pitt Football (@Pitt_FB) August 8, 2021
Covert is the 9th Pitt Football player to be enshrined among the game's greats!#H2P » @NFLNetwork pic.twitter.com/JKH1l5ATFL
The Pitt great kicked off his speech by taking a jab at his old rivals, noting, “I always say my favorite weekend is when Penn State, Notre Dame and Green Bay all lose.” He then talked about growing up in Conway and playing at Freedom High School for Chuck Lucidore before talking about his time at Pitt.
“I was very fortunate to play for the University of Pittsburgh,” Covert said. “Pitt is an incredible place, and I played with some of the greatest college football players of all time on some of the greatest college football teams of all time. Many of my Pitt teammates are here tonight. [Dan Marino] is up here, Rick Trocano, Jim Morsillo, Emil [Boures]; they can attest to that.”
“At Pitt, I played for two great coaches in Jackie Sherrill and Joe Moore,” he continued. “And Jackie was a great player’s coach and really cared about you as a person and not just as a football player. When I moved to the offensive line in the spring of ‘80, he took a personal interest in making sure it was the best move for me. Thank you, Coach Sherrill.”
“And I owe so much of my success to Joe Moore, who I consider to be one of the greatest offensive line coaches of all time,” Covert added. “After I switched to offensive line, the first practice, Joe said, ‘You’re going to be an All-American someday.’ He could’ve said anything, but after he said that, I would have ran through a brick wall for the guy. He was great to play for most of the time. ... Joe just had a unique way of pushing you even beyond your own expectations, and then he took great pride in seeing you succeed. He’s no longer with us, but thank you, Joe. I miss you.”
Covert would conclude his speech by sharing stories about his NFL career with the Chicago Bears and thanking fellow Pitt alum Mike Ditka, who was the Bears’ head coach at the time, for re-establishing the pride in the Bears organization during the 1980s.
With his enshrinement over the weekend, Covert joined fellow Pitt greats Mike Ditka, Chris Doleman, Tony Dorsett, Russ Grimm, Rickey Jackson, Dan Marino, Curtis Martin and Joe Schmidt in Canton. Currently, only Notre Dame, USC, Michigan and Ohio State have more Hall of Fame inductees than Pitt, which is tied with Miami, with nine Hall of Famers.
Pitt is expected to add to its Hall of Fame total in the coming years, as Darrelle Revis will be eligible for enshrinement in 2023 and Larry Fitzgerald and LeSean McCoy are currently mulling retirement after successful careers. All three Pitt alums were featured on the NFL 2010s All-Decade Team alongside Aaron Donald, who should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he eventually retires.
As for Covert, the unveiling of his bust in Canton marked the end of an illustrious career that saw him become a consensus All-American in 1982 and earn first-team All-Pro honors in 1985 and 1986. Covert was also a member of the 1980s NFL All-Decade Team and won a Super Bowl with the Bears in 1986. And at Pitt, his No. 75 has been retired.