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Covert, Sprinkle among Hall of Fame finalists

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Former Bears stars Jim Covert and Ed Sprinkle are among 20 senior finalists in contention to be included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame's special centennial Class of 2020.

To celebrate the NFL's 100th anniversary, the 2020 Hall of Fame class will expand to 20 inductees—comprised of five modern-era candidates, 10 senior nominees, three contributors and two coaches.

The senior nominees—all individuals who last played more than 25 years ago—were selected by a Blue Ribbon Panel from among nearly 300 candidates. In early January, the Panel will choose 10 of the 20 nominees to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020. The Panel consists of members of the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee, Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and historians.

Covert played his entire NFL career with the Bears from 1983-91 after being selected with the sixth pick in the first round of the 1983 draft out of Pittsburgh, where he blocked for star quarterback Dan Marino.

Covert was a two-time first-team All-Pro who helped the Bears win six division championships, one conference title and one Super Bowl during his nine seasons. He was part of an offensive line that helped the Bears lead the NFL in rushing for four consecutive seasons from 1983-86.

Sprinkle, meanwhile, was a fierce competitor who was once described by George Halas as "the greatest pass rusher I've ever seen." Sprinkle played his entire 12-year NFL career with the Bears from 1944-55, helping the Monsters of the Midway win the league championship in 1946. He was voted to four Pro Bowls and was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1940s.

Sprinkle was labeled "the meanest man in football" in a 1950 article in Collier's Weekly magazine. But the Bears defensive end always stressed that he played within the rules.

The entire 20-person Class of 2020 will be in Canton for the 2020 Enshrinement Week Powered by Johnson Controls. The group of Modern-Era players along with contributors and coaches will be formally enshrined on Saturday, Aug. 8. The 10 seniors will take center stage in the once-in-every-other-lifetime Centennial Celebration on Sept. 16-19, 2020 when they are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

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