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Fouts, Joiner in Charger Hall of Fame : Honors: Tandem that made the team's offense soar in the 1970s and 1980s will go on the club's honor roll together.

November 30, 1992|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SAN DIEGO — After closing their Hall of Fame for six years, the Chargers reopened it Sunday with the announced inductions of Dan Fouts, six-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and Charlie Joiner, his favorite receiver.

Fouts, who played for the Chargers from 1973 through 1987, set 42 team records and seven NFL marks when he retired.

"I'm really thrilled about it," said Fouts, whose jersey number has been retired by the team. "With Charlie going in, it makes it extra special. He was always a guy I could rely upon and made life easy for me."

Joiner, now a receivers coach with the Buffalo Bills, is the Chargers' all-time leading receiver with 588 catches in 11 seasons in San Diego (1976-1986). He is third on the NFL's all-time receiving list with 750 catches.

"I don't think he ever dropped any, at least any that were thrown that he could catch," Fouts said of Joiner. "I always felt with Charlie a total confidence in the fact that I knew what he was going to do, when he was going to make his break and how he was reading the defense. To have a security blanket like that for a quarterback is absolutely the best situation you could be in. I really feel great that I'm going in with him."

Joiner coached receivers for the Chargers for five seasons before moving to Buffalo this season. He was in Indianapolis with the Bills.

"I feel great about it. I've been looking forward to this a long time. There have been many outstanding players in the Charger organization over the years," Joiner said.

Although he and Fouts were selected, Don Coryell, their coach during much of their tenure in San Diego, was not.

"It embarrasses me to go into the Hall of Fame before Don Coryell," said Fouts, in Cleveland to broadcast an NFL game. "Because if it wasn't for Don Coryell, I wouldn't be in the Hall of Fame for the Chargers. I look forward to the day very shortly where Don will join Charlie and I and along with so many of our great players. There's so many that played in that era, the Don Coryell years, and they all deserve to be recognized as such."

Chargers vice chairman Dean Spanos, chairman of the selection committee, said in a release: "There are a lot of great players eligible for the Chargers' Hall of Fame, but we feel Dan and Charlie distinguished themselves head-and-shoulders above the rest. The impact on our team is undeniable."

Coryell coached the Chargers to three consecutive AFC West titles (1979-81) and four playoff straight playoff berths (1979-82). He was fired in 1986 after eight years with the Chargers.

"Don Coryell has meant so much to Charger football and the identity of the Lightning Bolts," Fouts said. "His position as the greatest offensive coach in the National Football League will be recognized at some time down the line. It's unfortunate the way his career ended in San Diego."

Kellen Winslow, a five-time Pro Bowl tight end and the Chargers' second-all-time leading receiver, was a notable omission from the list.

Fouts is eligible for the NFL Hall of Fame next year, but said he is not optimistic about his chances.

"I'm really not expecting to go in because of the way things are in the Hall of Fame," he said. "All I have to do is look to my buddy Charlie, the fact that he didn't go in last year. I'm really not holding my breath."

Joiner was a finalist for induction into the NFL Hall of Fame this year.

"I can't say enough about Dan. He is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and is definitely the best quarterback I've ever played with," Joiner said. "Maybe someday we can both get inducted into Canton together."

Both players will be officially inducted into the Charger Hall of Fame during ceremonies at a home game next year.

Fouts had a contract dispute with owner Alex Spanos late in his career. He later announced his retirement, but his relationship with the organization has improved recently. In the last few years, Fouts has been a color analyst for the team's exhibition games.

"I certainly hope to be there," Fouts said. "I hope the Chargers are on a Monday night game next year so I can be there. I would hate to have this ceremony and not be there."

Dan Fouts' Career Statistics

Yr G Att Com Yds Pct TD '73 10 194 87 1,126 45 6 '74 11 237 115 1,732 49 8 '75 10 195 106 1,396 54 2 '76 14 359 208 2,535 58 14 '77 4 109 69 869 63 4 '78 15 381 224 2,999 59 24 '79 16 530 332 4,082 63 24 '80 16 589 348 4,715 59 30 '81 16 609 360 4,802 59 33 '82 9 330 204 2,883 62 17 '83 10 340 215 2,975 63 20 '84 13 507 317 3,740 63 19 '85 14 430 254 3,638 59 27 '86 12 430 252 3,031 59 16 '87 11 364 206 2,517 57 10 Tot 181 5,604 3,297 43,040 59 254

*

Charlie Joiner's Career Statistics

Year G No. Yds Avg Long TD 1976 14 50 1,058 21.1 81 7 1977 14 35 542 15.5 32 6 1978 16 33 607 18.4 46 1 1979 16 72 1,008 14.0 39 4 1980 16 71 1,132 15.9 51 4 1981 16 70 1,188 17.0 57 7 1982 9 36 545 15.1 43 0 1983 16 65 960 14.8 33 3 1984 16 61 793 13.0 41 6 1985 16 59 932 15.8 39 7 1986 16 34 440 12.9 33 2 Tot* 165 586 9,205 15.7 81 47 Tot** 165 750 12,146 16.2 87 65

* Totals with Chargers ** Career totals

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