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Hall of Fame inductee bios

The other inductees

Induction ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Saturday, televised by ESPN and the NFL Network. The Hall of Fame game between the Indianapolis Colts and Washington Redskins kicks off Sunday at 8 p.m. on Ch. 8.

All bios courtesy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Fred Dean

Fred Dean was 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 (1981-85).

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.

Early in the 1981 season, Dean was shipped to the San Francisco 49ers where he 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. 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 was named to four Pro Bowls (1980-82, 1984) and selected All-Pro twice (1980-81).

Art Monk

Art Monk, a first-round draft choice of the Washington Redskins in 1980, was a unanimous all-rookie selection and his 58 receptions were a Redskins' rookie record. Nine times during his 16-season career with the Redskins, New York Jets, and Philadelphia Eagles, the former Syracuse star exceeded 50 catches in a season and five times gained more than 1,000 receiving yards. He also set NFL records for most catches in a season (106), and most consecutive games with at least one reception (164). His consecutive games with a reception streak extended to 183 games. In 1992, with his 820th career catch, he became the NFL's then-all-time leader in receptions. He finished his career with 940 receptions.

Monk, at 6 feet 3, 210 pounds, was a prototype for today's bigger, stronger receivers. He got off the line of scrimmage quickly and never hesitated to run patterns across the middle of the field.

Monk was a major part of the powerful Redskins teams that were dominant during the 1980s. During his 14 seasons with the Redskins, the team won three Super Bowls (XVII, XXII, and XXVI) and had just three losing seasons. In 1984, his outstanding play earned him team MVP honors and his first Pro Bowl selection. His season totals of 106 catches for 1,372 yards were career highs.

Monk was an All-Pro and All-NFC choice in 1984 and '85 and was named second-team All-NFC in 1986. He was selected to play in the Pro Bowl following the 1984, 1985 and 1986 seasons.

Emmitt Thomas

Emmitt Thomas joined the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent from Bishop College in Dallas in 1966. He starred for the Chiefs for the next 13 seasons before retiring after the 1978 season as the team's all-time interceptor.

Thomas picked off 58 passes in his career which he returned for a team record 937 yards and 5 TDs. His interception total ranked fifth all-time in the NFL at the time of his retirement and is still fourth best among true cornerbacks.

A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas intercepted a pass in every season he played except his rookie year. One of the best cornerbacks of his era, he led the American Football League in interceptions in 1969 with nine.

Thomas intercepted a pass in each of the Chiefs' playoff victories in the 1969 postseason, including two in the AFL title game against the Oakland Raiders and one in Kansas City's 23-7 upset win over the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl IV.

Thomas was voted a first- or second-team All-AFL/AFC choice five times and a first- or second-team All-NFL selection three times. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl five times.

Following his 181-game playing career, Thomas began a career in coaching. After two seasons in the college ranks, he moved to the NFL in 1981 where he began a long career as an assistant coach with the St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Atlanta Falcons. In December 2007, he was named the interim head coach of the Falcons.

Andre Tippett

The New England Patriots selected Andre Tippett in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft. Used primarily on special teams during his strike-shortened rookie season, Tippett earned a starter's berth beginning in 1983. That year the 6-3, 240-pound linebacker set the stage for things to come by recording a team-leading 8.5 sacks. The following season he established a team record for sacks with 18.5 and earned his first of five consecutive invitations to the Pro Bowl (1985-89).

In 1985, the Patriots, for the first time in team history, advanced to the Super Bowl. A major contributing factor to the team's success was Tippett's outstanding defensive play. That year he led the AFC in sacks with 16.5 (second in the NFL).

Injuries slowed the hard-hitting linebacker in 1988 causing him to miss four games and a shoulder injury sidelined him for the entire 1989 season.

He remained a dominant player with the Patriots right through his final season in 1993. When he retired, his 100 career sacks, 18.5 sacks in a season, and 17 opponents fumble recovered were team bests. Tippett, a five-time All-AFC selection, was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1980s.

Gary Zimmerman

Offensive tackle Gary Zimmerman is one of just a handful of players to earn the honor of being named to two NFL All-Decade Teams. His superior play earned him a spot on the NFL's 1980s All-Decade Team even though he played just four seasons during the decade. Following the 1999 season, he was named to the 1990s All-Decade Team as well.

Originally selected by the New York Giants in the first round of the 1984 supplemental draft, Zimmerman's signing rights were traded to the Minnesota Vikings for two second-round picks in the 1986 draft. Also drafted by the Los Angeles Express of the defunct USFL, Zimmerman spent two seasons with the Express before reporting to the Vikings in 1986. He was later acquired by the Denver Broncos in a trade with Minnesota before the last preseason game of the 1993 season.

After joining the Vikings in 1986, Zimmerman began a streak of 169 consecutive starts that lasted until 1996 when late-season shoulder surgery sidelined him. Along the way he earned first- or second-team All-Pro honors eight times. During the same period he was selected to play in seven Pro Bowls.

Although Zimmerman managed to play in 169 consecutive games and a total of 184 games during his career, he was no stranger to injury and pain. In 1996, he played with severe pain in both shoulders. His consecutive game streak came to a halt when late-season surgery on one of his injured shoulders forced him to the sideline. Zimmerman was widely respected by teammates and opponents alike. Even though he missed the final two games of the 1996 season he was still selected to play in the Pro Bowl and was voted first-team All-Pro honors.

Hall of Fame inductee bios 08/01/08 [Last modified: Friday, August 1, 2008 12:38pm]
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