|Freddie Solomon spent eight seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and won two Super Bowl rings. (Associated Press)|
The 49ers announced the passing of Solomon, who lived in Florida and had battled cancer over the past year. He played on the first two of the franchise's four Super Bowl championship teams in the 1980s during an 11-year NFL career.
The Miami Dolphins selected Solomon in the second round of the 1975 draft out of the University of Tampa. He spent his first three NFL seasons in Miami and his final eight in San Francisco, finishing with 371 receptions for 5,846 yards and 48 touchdowns in 371 games.
"Freddie was very influential to me and my career, and taught me about work ethic and professionalism," Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice said in a statement released by the 49ers. "He inspired me to go out there every day and emulate him."
After his football career ended, Solomon worked for two decades in community relations with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Florida, where he mentored youth and taught vital life lessons through football fundamentals.
"Besides his accomplishments as a player, Freddie truly cared about his community, whether it was here in South Florida or in the Tampa Bay area where he had his roots," Dolphins vice president Nat Moore said in a statement. "He was a kind and generous person, as exemplified by all of his charitable and civic deeds. It's a shame he passed away so young, and the Miami Dolphin organization extends its condolences to his family."
Solomon, who was born on Jan. 11, 1953, in Sumter, S.C., is survived by his wife, Dee; mother, Bessie Ruth Solomon; brothers Richard, Oneal and Roger; and mother-in-law Mae Jeffers.
"It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of Freddie Solomon, a beloved family member, friend, community leader and coach," the family said in a release. "We would like to thank all those who have supported him throughout his life."
Funeral services are scheduled for Friday at Saint Lawrence Church in Tampa, Fla.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press