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Covert talks Hall of Fame career, Walter Payton

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Former Bears left tackle Jimbo Covert, who anchored some of the best offensive lines in NFL history during the 1980s, will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year.

Selected by the Bears with the sixth pick in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, Covert will be part of a special 20-member centennial Class of 2020 commemorating the league's 100th season.

On Thursday, Covert discussed several topics during an hour-long interview on the Hall of Fame's Facebook page. Here are some highlights of that session:

On being voted a Bears captain in his second NFL season in 1984:

"It meant a lot to me because my teammates elected me. It wasn't appointed by the coaches or the owners or anything. Your teammates elected you to that role and that really meant a lot to me. I tried to lead more by example. I wasn't really that vocal all the time. I said things that I needed to say when they needed to be said. And I think when I did say those things, people listened because they would listen to you if you didn't talk too much and you just showed what you could do on the field and you tried to lead by example. If you're talking all the time, people kind of tune you out. I think if you lead by example in the things that you do, people respect that."

On being teammates with Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton:

"There are so many things I could say about Walter Payton … He was such a remarkable person. He was such a great football player; I think the greatest football player who ever lived, and I mean that. But he was even a better person. He really cared about people individually. When he would talk to you, it didn't matter if you were a fan, a first-round draft pick or the last guy to make it on the team, when you talked to him, you felt like you were the most important person in his life at that time. He had that innate ability to make you feel special. It's hard to do; not too many people have that. He just really genuinely cared about people, and that's not a phony thing. People can smell that, people can see that, sift through that pretty easily. When you see someone like him and the impact that he had on not only the game but his teammates and people in Chicago, it's pretty amazing. I miss him every day. He was one of the people that you just looked up to. You knew he was going to be there every day and he was going to do his job and he did some amazing things on the field that left his teammates in awe. I just felt like he was Superman."

On playing for the famed 1985 Super Bowl XX champions:

"It's just such a legendary team that people want to know about it, want to hear about it. It's recognized as one of the greatest teams that's ever been assembled. We didn't have the run that the San Franciscos and the Patriots and other teams did during those times just because there were key positions that we couldn't keep healthy unfortunately, and that kind of led to us not having the success that we should have. But at the end of the day, that one year I would put our team up against any team in the history of the NFL."

On receiving a call from Hall of Fame president David Baker informing Covert that he would be enshrined as part of the Class of 2020:

"It's like your whole life kind of flashes in front of you in like a second. You get really emotional; it's an emotional moment. You try not to be, but you just get flooded with all these memories in a nanosecond, and it's hard to remain composed when you get that. It's a very special moment."

On interactions he's had with Bulls superstar Michael Jordan, who's being featured on the popular documentary "The Last Dance":

"Michael used to come into our locker room a lot early on when he [played] with the Bulls and kind of hang out after the game. He is an incredible person. I got the chance to play golf with him a couple of times as well. I think that he's the greatest basketball player that ever lived, and he showed that on the court all the time. But Michael's a great person [too]. He's always treated me and other people I've seen him around great. I always enjoy being around him and hope to play golf with him again one day."

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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