Ed Tomlin's family said he had an apparent heart attack at home after spending the day fishing, the newspaper reported.
"He loved people. He was very knowledgeable, outgoing and loved fishing," Ed Tomlin's wife, Mazella, said.
Ed Tomlin was a civil-rights activist and served as the president of the local chapter of the NAACP from 2003 to 2006.
"He displayed statesmanship," Whitfield Jenkins, a fellow NAACP activist, said. "He used to talk about the difference between a politician and a statesman. The way he related to people, the way he approached issues and problem solving was very statesman-like. He was very courageous, but at the same time he gave people an opportunity to give their opinion."
The Baltimore Colts drafted Ed Tomlin, a native of Ocala, in 1968 out of Hampton University (known at the time as Hampton Institute), though he didn't play a game with the Colts. He joined the Canadian Football League instead, playing eight games with the Montreal Alouettes.