Herb Adderley, a Hall of Fame cornerback who won six NFL titles during his 12-year-career, has died. He was 81 years old. 

Following a stellar college career at Michigan State, Adderley was the 12th overall pick in the 1961 NFL draft. A five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro, Adderley was a member of each of Vince Lombardi’s five championship teams in Green Bay. After nine seasons with the Packers, Adderley played three seasons in Dallas, helping the Cowboys win their first Super Bowl at the end of the 1971 season. A member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 1960s, Adderley was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1980. 

“The entire Pro Football Hall of Fame family mourns the passing of Herb Adderley,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president David Baker said in a statement. “He was a great player and an even greater man. Herb left an indelible mark on the Game and was respected tremendously by players and personnel across the league.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Herb’s wife, Brenda, and their entire family. We will forever keep his legacy alive to serve as inspiration for future generations. The Hall of Fame flag will be flown at half-staff in Herb’s memory.”

The 6-foot, 205-pound Adderley was a ferocious hitter who also had a knack for making game-changing plays. Adderley’s penchant for making big plays was on display in Super Bowl II, as he returned an interception 60 yards for a score in Green Bay’s 33-14 victory over Oakland. 

Arguably the best cornerback of his era, Adderley started his Packers career as a receiver before Lombardi ultimately moved him over to his defense in 1962. 

“I had been so stubborn trying to make (Adderley) something he didn’t want to be,” Lombardi wrote in his book ‘Run to Daylight’. “He didn’t want to be a flanker. He wanted to be a defensive back.”

Adderley retired with 48 career interceptions, seven interception return for scores, nine forced fumbles and 14 fumble recoveries. He was part of two legendary defenses: Green Bay’s formidable group during the 1960s and Dallas’ “Doomsday” defense that held the Dolphins to just three points in Super Bowl VI. 

“Herb Adderley simply wouldn’t let me get to the outside,” Hall of Fame receiver Tommy McDonald once said of Adderley, via the Packers’ official website. “He’d just beat me up, force me to turn underneath routes all the time… Other guys tried the same tactic, but he was the only one tough enough and fast enough to get it done.”

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