Fred Dean, defensive end
It might be hard to imagine Fred Dean on a Chargers monument for some, especially considering that he when he went into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was inducted by Eddie DeBartolo, former owner of the San Francisco 49ers.
However, it’s important to keep in mind that if not for his time with the Chargers, he would not be in the Hall of Fame.
If you were to create a list of worst trades in Chargers history, the move to deal Dean following the 1981 season might be the worst. Former Chargers owner Gene Klein refused to renegotiate a new contract for Dean, who maintained that he was making no more money than his brother-in-law, who was a truck driver.
He was dealt to the 49ers, where he spent the final five seasons of his career. He would win two Super Bowls there.
With the Chargers, he racked up numerous sacks before it was an officially tracked statistic by the league and helped the team form a stout defense when it was known for having a high octane offense.
Dean was named to the Chargers’ 40th and 50th Anniversary teams and is part of the team’s Hall of Fame. He was also elected to the College Football Hall of Fame.
It’s a shame that he couldn’t finish his career with the team and likely looks back with more fondness on his time with the 49ers, but that doesn’t take away from the player he was on the field, which was definitely one of the best defensive players the Chargers ever had.