Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman, who spent most of his 15-year-career with the Minnesota Vikings, died Tuesday night, the Vikings confirmed Wednesday morning. He was 58.
Doleman, a fearsome pass rusher who played 10 of his 15 seasons in Minnesota, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2012. He died after battling brain cancer, the Star-Tribune of Minneapolis reported.
Doleman had surgery to remove a brain tumor in 2018, the newspaper reported.
Doleman played for the Vikings from 1985 to 1993 and in 1999. He also played for the Atlanta Falcons (1994-1995) and the San Francisco 49ers (1996-1998). He was an Indianapolis native and played collegiately at the University of Pittsburgh. The Vikings drafted him No. 1 in the 1985 NFL draft (he was the fourth pick overall that year).
“Chris was a great example for players past and present, as he embodied all the best characteristics of a Viking - resilience, toughness and a competitive spirit," the Vikings said in a statement. "Chris always carried himself with dignity and class. Vikings fans worldwide will greatly miss him.”
Doleman had 150.5 career sacks, eight interceptions and recovered 24 fumbles. He made eight Pro Bowl appearances, and was a two-time, first-team All-Pro, KSTP reported.
Doleman had 21 sacks to lead the NFL in 1989.
“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Chris Doleman after a prolonged and courageous battle against cancer,” David Baker, Pro Football Hall of Fame president and CEO, said in a statement. “I had the honor of getting to know him not only as a great football player but an outstanding human being.”
“The legacy of Chris Doleman will live forever in Canton, Ohio, for generations to learn from how he lived a life of courage and character.”
Former Vikings punter Greg Coleman added his condolences on Twitter, along with other former teammates: