Solomon, who won two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers with Hall-of-Famer Joe Montana as his quarterback, was a second-round draft pick of the Dolphins in 1975. Hall-of-Fame head coach Don Shula first became aware of Solomon’s talent during Solomon’s time as quarterback for the University of Tampa in the early 1970s and knew he’d be successful in the NFL.
Following in the mold of athletic quarterbacks like Doug Williams, Solomon rushed for 3,299 yards in college and set an all-time NCAA record for quarterbacks at the time. He spent three seasons in Miami playing for Shula and caught 61 passes for 973 yards and five touchdowns before getting traded to San Francisco, where in 1981 he caught 59 passes for 969 yards and eight touchdowns.
That’s the year the Niners reached their first Super Bowl, and a little known fact was that Solomon was Montana’s first option on the infamous play known as “The Catch,” when Montana rolled right and hit Dwight Clark in the back of the end zone to beat the Dallas Cowboys, 28-27, in the NFC Championship Game.
Solomon retired from football after the 1985 seasons and moved back to Tampa, where he immersed himself in the community through his community relations outreach programs with the Hillsborough County Sherriff’s Office. He also teamed up with the owner of the 49ers at the time, Eddie DeBartolo, Jr., to provide an annual Christmas celebration for foster children.
Solomon is survived by his wife of 33 years, Dee Solomon.
“Freddie was truly a player ahead of his time. He was a tremendous athlete and was one of the first multi-purpose quarterbacks coming out of college who helped establish a style that Michael Vick and others would go on to perfect. With his skills, if he played quarterback in the NFL today, he would be able to attack defenses so many different ways, especially in the Wildcat. He played well as a receiver for the Dolphins, and given his abilities, it wasn’t surprising that he went on to even greater success at that position when he joined the San Francisco 49ers.
"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. 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 condolances to his family.”