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Covert, Sprinkle to enter Hall of Fame Sept. 18

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Former Bears stars Jimbo Covert and Ed Sprinkle will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Friday evening, Sept. 18, in the second of two enshrinement ceremonies this summer in Canton, Ohio.

To celebrate the NFL's 100th anniversary, the 2020 Hall of Fame class has expanded to 20 inductees.

Ten honorees will be inducted on Saturday, Aug. 8, two days after the Hall of Fame Game. The group includes former players Steve Atwater, Isaac Bruce, Steve Hutchinson, Edgerrin James and Troy Polamalu; former coaches Bill Cowher and Jimmy Johnson; and contributors Steve Sabol, Paul Tagliabue and George Young.

Covert and Sprinkle, meanwhile, will be among 10 senior-era players enshrined more than a month later as part of a special Centennial Celebration that commemorates the founding of the NFL in Canton on Sept. 17, 1920. The other seniors entering the Hall are Harold Carmichael, Bobby Dillon, Cliff Harris, Winston Hill, Alex Karras, Donnie Shell, Duke Slater and Mac Speedie.

The senior enshrinees were selected by a blue ribbon panel from among nearly 300 candidates who last played more than 25 years ago. The panel consisted of members of the Hall of Fame's Selection Committee, Hall of Famers, coaches, football executives and historians.

The Hall of Fame announced Jan. 15 that Covert and Sprinkle would be part of the 20-member centennial Class of 2020.

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. He 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. Covert was named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 1980s and was part of an offensive line that helped the Bears lead the NFL in rushing for four consecutive seasons from 1983-86.

Sprinkle 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.

The Centennial Celebration will feature a multi-day schedule of events celebrating the NFL's 100th birthday. Among the planned events is the dedication of the new Centennial Plaza in downtown Canton near the site where the NFL was founded. Monuments featuring the names of the more than 25,000 players who competed in the league in its first century will be unveiled.

Jimbo Covert and Ed Sprinkle join the 28 other members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame from the Chicago Bears, the most of any team in the NFL.

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