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Pitt OL Great Jimbo Covert Brings Western PA Upbringing, Commitment to Panthers to Pro Football HOF

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On Tuesday afternoon, legendary Pitt offensive lineman and member of the 2020 Pro Football Hall of Fame class Jimbo Covert spoke to the media, including Orion Moses of Pittsburgh Sports Now, to talk about his life and career in football.

Covert, who addressed the media from Pittsburgh, recalled growing up in Beaver Country, and how it shaped his work ethic on and off the field.

“I got asked that question a lot. I think it’s because of the work ethic that I had growing up. I just really, not inherited it, but my parents. My dad worked at Armco Steel for 34 years. My grandfather worked there for 44 years. Every male member of my family did, and my dad would work shift work for 34 years. He would come home in the morning when he worked night turn, he’d take a shower and go back out in the Sears and Roebuck moving truck for another eight hours. When you see people like that that did that for that long, my mother worked at JCPenney part time to get a little bit of extra money for everyone. We didn’t really like it that much because every stitch of clothing we had was from JCPenney, but at the end of the day, you just saw how hard your parents worked to create a better life for their children and I think you wanna copy that and say ‘Hey, I wanna do the same thing’ because you know if you do that, good things will happen. I think that’s what I learned most from growing up in Beaver County.

He was a standout recruit at Freedom Area High School, and was recruited to Pitt by a fellow member of the 2020 HOF Class, legendary coach Jimmy Johnson.

“I got recruited almost everywhere I would say, and I could’ve went anywhere, but Pitt just won a national championship in ’76. My senior year of high school was ’77, so I just felt when I got there and visited the place, it was just like home, and I was just attracted to the guys and the winning tradition and Coach Sherrill and the whole nine yards. So, I didn’t go to Pitt for any other reason other than the guys I had a chance to meet and ultimately ended up playing with, and I’m just so glad that I did.”

Covert played with the Panthers from 1978-82 and was a three-year starter, helping Pitt to a 31-5 record in those three seasons. He was selected as a first team All-American as a junior in 1981 and was a consensus All-American in 1982. Covert was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2003, and had his No. 75 retired by the school in 2015.

He was selected sixth overall by the Chicago Bears in the 1983 NFL Draft, who he spent his entire eight-year career with. He played all eight season under fellow Pitt great Mike Ditka, and was a key piece in the offense of the legendary 1985 Bears championship squad.

Covert will be the ninth Pitt player enshrined in Canton, tied for the third-most of any college team, joining LB Joe Schmidt (1973), TE Mike Ditka (1988), RB Tony Dorsett (1994), QB Dan Marino (2005), OL Russ Grimm (2010), LB Rickey Jackson (2010), RB Curtis Martin (2012) and DE/LB Chris Doleman (2012).

The Class of 2020, whose ceremony was delayed by the pandemic, will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio on Aug. 7.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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