Herb Adderley, a Hall of Fame cornerback who played 12 years with the Green Bay Packers and Dallas Cowboys, died Friday, the Packers announced. He was 81 and had been recently hospitalized for undisclosed reasons.
A first-round pick out of Michigan State in 1961, Adderley’s NFL career began with a position switch. He was originally drafted as a halfback, his position with the Spartans, then switched to cornerback due to injury and dominated at the position for a decade.
“The greatest cornerback to ever play the game,” Packers teammate Bart Starr once said about Adderley, per the Packers.
Adderley was a member of all five of Packers legend Vince Lombardi’s championship teams, winning the first Super Bowl in 1967. He later added another ring under Tom Landry with the Cowboys.
Adderley eventually retired with 48 career interceptions (7 returned for touchdowns) and 14 fumble recoveries. He was a true shutdown corner, making five Pro Bowls and and earning a spot on the NFL’s 1960s All-Decade team.
From the Packers:
"I played against all of them," Johnny Morris, a flanker for the Chicago Bears from 1958-67 and the NFL's leading receiver in 1964 with 93 catches, said of the great cornerbacks of the late 1950s and '60s. "Jimmy Johnson was a great defensive back. So was Night Train Lane. I could do things against them. Herb was in a class by himself. I don't have to think about it – he was the best."
The Philadelphia native retired in 1973 after a trade to the Los Angeles Rams, and later worked as a broadcaster and coach. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980.
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