Midlands community mourns NFL star's death

Solomon passed away at the age of 59 after battling colon cancer for many years.

Sumter, S.C. (WACH) - Long before starring in the NFL Freddie Solomon captivated the Midlands with a short, but memorable prep career at Sumter High School.

"Every game he was in, he was a star,â?? said Sumter Item Editor Hubert Osteen. â??He was a quarterback, and he could run, he could pass. He was just a brilliant, brilliant athlete."

Solomon only played one season at SHS; because the school wasnâ??t integrated until 1970.

Solomon rushed for nearly 2,000 yards and 28 touchdowns during that season. Many of his records stood for decades.

"Freddie was recruited by Carolina, and his SATs were not good enough apparently, so he went to (University of Tampa) Tampa,â?? said Osteen.

The Miami Dolphins drafted Solomon in 1975, but he made his mark with the San Francisco 49ers.

Solomon won two super bowls with hall of famer Joe Montana, and former Clemson standout Dwight Clark.

He retired from football in 1985, and stayed active in the Tampa community.

â??He did a lot of civic work in the community, did a lot of work with kids,â?? adds Osteen. â??That was his second life.â??

Solomon returned to Sumter in 2005, to be inducted into his Alma Materâ??s athletic hall of fame.

â??He was just so gracious and so appreciative,â?? said SHS Athletic Director Grayson Howell.â?? â??He cried as he remembered his hometown and what it meant to him.â??

Solomon is also a member of the Florida and South Carolina Sports Hall of Fames and the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame.