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Jim Covert
No. 74     
Offensive tackle
Personal information
Date of birth: (1960-03-22) March 22, 1960 (age 58)
Place of birth: Conway, Pennsylvania
High School: Freedom (PA)
Career information
College: Pittsburgh
NFL Draft: 1983 / Round: 1 / Pick: 6
Debuted in 1983 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
* Chicago Bears (1983–1990)
Career highlights and awards
* NFL 1980s All-Decade Team
Stats at pro-football-reference.com
Stats at DatabaseFootball.com
College Football Hall of Fame

James Paul "Jimbo" Covert (born March 22, 1960) is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL) for eight seasons during the 1980s and early 1990s. Covert played college football for the University of Pittsburgh, and was recognized as an All-American. He was selected in the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft, and played professionally for the NFL's Chicago Bears. He is currently[when?] the president and chief executive officer of The Institute for Transfusion Medicine.[citation needed]

Early yearsEdit

Covert was born in Conway, Pennsylvania. He excelled in both football and wrestling at Freedom Area High School in Beaver County, west of Pittsburgh. In football, Covert led the 1977 Freedom Bulldogs, with an undefeated 11-0 record, to the Midwestern Athletic Conference (MAC) Championship. The Bulldogs eventually lost to Laurel High School in the second round of the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League (WPIAL) playoffs. Covert earned UPI First-Team All-State honors his senior year and became a highly recruited player.

College careerEdit

Covert entered the University of Pittsburgh as a defensive lineman. He played in every game his freshman season, primarily in short-yardage and goal-line situations. Covert received a medical red-shirt in 1979 due to a persistent shoulder injury that required surgery. In the spring of 1980, Covert was switched to offensive left tackle where he started for the next three seasons.

Coached by legendary offensive line coach Joe Moore, the 1980 Panthers offensive line featured Covert, Rob Fada, and Paul Dunn sharing the left guard duties; Russ Grimm at center; Emil Boures at right guard; and Mark May at right tackle. The Panthers finished the 1980 season with a record of 10-1 and ended the season with a Gator Bowl victory over South Carolina. The 1980 Pitt Panthers also featured four future College Football Hall of Fame inductees: Covert, Dan Marino, Hugh Green, and May. The following year, 1981 Pitt Panthers finished 10-1 again and beat Georgia in a last-minute victory in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. In both 1980 and 1981 the Panthers finished the season ranked number 2 in the national polls.

In 1982, Pitt finished a disappointing 9-2 despite being ranked number 1 in the preseason. The Panthers eventually lost to Southern Methodist University in the Cotton Bowl 7-3. An Outland Trophy candidate in 1982, Covert earned first team All-America honors in both his junior and senior campaigns, achieving consensus All-America as a senior. Covert played in both the Hula Bowl and Senior Bowl, which capped his college career.

Covert was named to the University of Pittsburgh All-Time Team. He was also elected to the National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, Class of 2003.

NFL careerEdit

Covert was drafted by the Chicago Bears with the sixth selection of the first round of the 1983 NFL Draft. He became an immediate starter at the critical left tackle position and anchored the Bears offensive line throughout the 1980s.

The Bears went from 26th in total offense in 1982 to sixth in the league in 1983. Covert’s addition to the Bears starting lineup began a string of record-setting rushing titles—the Chicago Bears led the league in rushing a record-setting four consecutive seasons, from 1983–1986, which tied the all-time mark, set by the 1939-42 Chicago Bears. The Bears finished second in rushing twice, 1989 and 1990, and third once, 1988, during Covert’s career.

In Covert’s second year in the league, he was elected by his teammates to be the Bears offensive captain, along with running back Walter Payton. That year, he was named All-Pro by Sports Illustrated and was ranked by many as one of the best tackles in professional football. In Covert’s third year, he was named consensus All-Pro, made first-team All-NFL, was selected to the Pro Bowl, and was named 1985 National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) NFC Offensive Lineman of the Year. The 1985 Chicago Bears also won Super Bowl XX.

During Covert’s career, he was named to an All-Pro team four straight years (1984–1987), a first- or second-team All-NFC selection four times (1985–1987, 1990), and a first- or second-team All-NFL selection three times. Covert was a consensus All-NFL and All-Pro pick in 1985 and 1986. He was selected to two Pro Bowls, in 1985 and 1986. In 1986, he was selected as the Miller Lite NFL Offensive Lineman of the Year.

In 1990, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Board of Selectors selected Covert to the NFL All-Decade Team. With Covert on the team, the Bears won six NFL Central Division titles and played in three NFC Championship games, along with the Super Bowl win.

Covert’s last season was 1990. In 1991, he was placed on injured reserve for the entire season following back surgery, and he announced his retirement from the NFL soon after.

Life after footballEdit

Covert is married to Penny Covert; they have three children, Casey, Scott and Jessica Covert.

His career after retiring from the NFL has been focused on healthcare sales, marketing and acquisition initiatives.

Covert's healthcare career began at Baxter International in their Physical Therapy Division, where he served as Director of Sales and Development. In November 1992, Baxter spun out the alternate site business called Caremark into an independent publicly traded company, and Covert served as Vice President of Development for Caremark Physical Therapy from 1992–1995. Covert expanded Caremark’s Physical Therapy presence from 50 to 127 sites in 14 states increasing revenue to more than $120 million.

Caremark Physical Therapy was acquired by HealthSouth Corporation in 1995. Covert was Senior Vice President of Development for Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corporation from 1995–1998. In that position, he was responsible for the merger and acquisition effort as well as all sales and marketing related initiatives. Covert led the growth effort for the Physical Therapy Division as they rapidly grew from 20 to more than 200 sites in a 16-month time frame. Horizon/CMS was ultimately sold to HealthSouth in February 1997.

In 2000, Covert started Keystone Strategies, LLC, a healthcare consulting group focused on assisting emerging healthcare companies with their sales and marketing strategies. In June 2004, Covert joined the turnaround team at HealthSouth Corporation at its corporate headquarters in Birmingham, Alabama. As Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing, and Development, Covert had responsibility for all sales, marketing, public relations, sports sponsorship, sports medicine, and acquisition initiatives for the outpatient therapy division. HealthSouth’s Outpatient Division was acquired by Select Medical Corporation in April 2007.

In May 2007, Covert was named President and Chief Executive Officer of The Institute for Transfusion Medicine, one of the nation’s foremost non-profit organizations specializing in transfusion medicine and related services, and the leader in transfusion medicine in both the Pittsburgh and Chicago regions. Its two blood centers, Central Blood Bank in Pittsburgh and LifeSource in Chicago, provide nearly a million units of lifesaving blood products annually. ITxM Diagnostics is a leading source of therapeutic and coagulation reference testing services while ITxM Clinical Services focuses on the pre-transfusion testing and delivery of vital blood products to patients.

In 2012, Covert was among the nominees for the 2013 class of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.[1]

ReferencesEdit