Blog Entry

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

Posted on: February 13, 2012 7:42 pm
 
Freddie Solomon died Monday at the age of 59. (Getty)
By Josh Katzowitz

Former 49ers receiver Freddie Solomon, an important contributor to Bill Walsh’s original West Coast offense, died Monday afternoon at the age of 59 after a battle with colon and liver cancer.

"With all that he has done, with all that he has meant to this community, Freddie Solomon is irreplaceable,”  Vin Hoover, Solomon's football teammate at the University of Tampa, told the Tampa Tribune. "He was my friend. He was everyone's friend.”

After his 11-year career with the Dolphins and 49ers from 1975-85, where he caught 371 passes for a 15.8 yards per catch average and 48 touchdowns, he stayed in Tampa and became a positive fixture in the community.

As the Tribune writes:
Solomon worked for two decades in community relations with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, working with youths while blending football fundamentals with life lessons. He rarely spoke about his accomplishments. For some, he dished out tough love. For others, he was a mentor. To all, he was simply "Coach Solomon."

Each winter for a dozen years, Solomon and former 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo organized a Christmas celebration for foster children. The kids got wrapped toys, dolls or games. Their stunned caregivers, usually struggling to make ends meet, were screaming or sobbing in disbelief after opening gift envelopes filled with hundreds of dollars.

He was constantly stopped in his daily travels by people who remembered his glory days. Solomon obliged with a handshake, a hug, an autograph or a quick photo. Once, a woman asked Solomon to telephone her father, a big fan, as a birthday surprise. Instead, on his way home from work, Solomon dropped by the man's house to personally share some UT memories. They talked and laughed for hours.

"Freddie Solomon was a treasure for us in San Francisco,'' said former 49ers safety Ronnie Lott, a Pro Football Hall of Famer. "What a humanitarian he has been for the city of Tampa."

Interestingly enough, he was just as generous with his teammates. Jerry Rice and Dwight Clark are on record saying how helpful he was to them early in their careers.

"He helped me when he didn't really have to,'' Clark said. "But as I came to understand, that's how he has always been with everybody. He has led an amazing life.”

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Comments

Since: Jun 13, 2008
Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:56 am
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

I remember Freddie Solomon when I was a kid growing up.I think I still have his football card.I remember him being part of the 1st 49er team that won a Super Bowl before Jerry Rice became a pro.However,I had no idea how much of a philanthropist he was in the Tampa area,where he went to college & called home long after his NFL career was over.God Bless Freddie Solomon,to his family,my condolences.R.I.P 



Since: Sep 1, 2009
Posted on: February 14, 2012 2:19 am
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

A good NFL career was just the warmup for one helluva post-career life. It's better than good to see an athlete who gave back what he got-with interest.


dlopez711
Since: Feb 11, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 2:19 am
This comment has been removed.

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kate32
Since: Feb 14, 2012
Posted on: February 14, 2012 1:11 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: May 26, 2009
Posted on: February 14, 2012 12:45 am
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

I share the sentiments of everyone else who has responded. Very sad to hear of Freddie Solomon's passing. NFL history geeks like myself understand just how meaningful Solomon was to the beginnings of the 49er dynasty of the 80s, even after departing midway through the decade. What folks like myself did not understand was just how meaningful Solomon was to his fellow man by virtue of his positive participation in the community.

People remember you more for how you made them feel than anything else. A little bit goes a long way where that is concerned. No doubt it is a sad day for Solomon's family and friends, but if it is any consolation I would like them to know that he led a good life. A good name and legacy is better than wealth. May his soul RIP.



Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 11:18 pm
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

Nice to see Freddie did what he did. Definitely not selfish and cared about others. Love what Dwight, Jerry, and Ronnie have to sya about him. It says it all. Well-done in life Freddie!!!



Since: Mar 15, 2007
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:48 pm
 

Total bummer, RIP Freddie.

Thank you for living a meaningful giving life after football.



Since: Jan 17, 2010
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:19 pm
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

 This guy was so SLIPPERY in the open field after he caught the ball! Probably the most elusive receiver in the game at that time, fun to watch.



Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:10 pm
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

A great player. A lot of people mistakenly think that Jerry Rice was why Joe Montana was so great. In actuality, Joe Montana had two Super Bowl rings before Jerry Rice has his first NFL career reception. Solomon was a big reason for that.



Since: Mar 22, 2011
Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:00 pm
 

Former 49ers WR Freddie Solomon, dies at 59

Though not a Niner's fan, I had an appreciation for the talent Freddie displayed, and how he performed. Interestingly, I find it strange that there is no mention in this article of Freddie's family. Did he have a wife, kids?


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