Finally, Jimbo Covert's agonizingly long wait to be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame is nearly over.
One of 10 senior candidates who are part of an expanded Class of 2020, the former Bears left tackle will be inducted Saturday night in Canton. The special 20-member class was selected to commemorate the NFL's 100th season.
The honor was delayed one year after last summer's ceremony was cancelled due to COVID-19 and comes nearly four decades after Covert was selected by the Bears with the sixth pick in the 1983 draft out of Pittsburgh.
"It's definitely going to be an emotional moment," Covert said Thursday night on the Bears All-Access radio show on WSCR-AM 670. "I think it's going to be one heck of a good time.
"Waiting that long just makes it that much sweeter and [I'm] really looking forward to spending time with all my family and friends and teammates."
Covert played his entire eight-year NFL career with the Bears from 1983-90. He was a two-time first-team All-Pro who helped the Bears win six division championships, one conference title and one Super Bowl.
Covert was part of an offensive line that helped the Bears lead the NFL in rushing for four consecutive seasons from 1983-86. The other four starters were left guard Mark Bortz, center Jay Hilgenberg, right guard Tom Thayer and right tackle Keith Van Horne.
"What I'm most proud of is just our offensive line and how we came together," Covert said. "I can't think of four better guys that I would rather line up next to on any Sunday. We were very fortunate to play together for a long time. That's a big deal and I think that's a big deal for offensive linemen to be comfortable with each other."
“It’s definitely going to be an emotional moment. Waiting that long just makes it sweeter." Former Bears star Jimbo Covert
Covert will become the 30th member of the Bears organization to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, the most of any NFL team. His official presenter will be former Bears fullback Matt Suhey. The two were roommates on the road for seven seasons and remain close friends.
"He was such a great mentor," Covert said. "We used to laugh; it was a Pitt and Penn State guy in the same room together. But we got along and I really had a tremendous amount of respect for him. He became a mentor of mine and really gave me a lot of advice later on in my career about what I was supposed to do after football.
"And I think it was a way of also remembering Walter [Payton] because they were so close and having Walter be part of this thing as well because we all miss him and he meant so much to all of us. So, he'll be there as well in spirit, and that's what I kind of wanted."
Take a look at each of the 30 players in franchise history to be enshrined in Canton, the most of any team in the NFL.