MSU legend Herb Adderley dies at 81


Spartan Stadium in the fall/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

Nathan Stearns, Football Beat Reporter

EAST LANSING- Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Spartan Herb Adderley died on Friday at the age of 81.

Adderley played primarily halfback under legendary football coach Duffy Daugherty from 1958-60. He led the Spartans in rushing yards as a junior and also led the team in pass receptions in 1959 and 1960. 

During his collegiate career, Adderley ran for 813 yards and four touchdowns, as well as 519 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. For his efforts, he was named as a first-team All Big-Ten selection as a halfback in 1960.

In 1961, Adderley was drafted with the 12th-overall pick by the Green Bay Packers and football icon Vince Lombardi. He would then switch to defensive back since the Packers already had future Hall of Famers Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor in the backfield. 

After switching to defensive back, Adderley would become one of the NFL’s best corners for the better part of a decade. He was named to five pro bowls in his career (1963-67) and was an integral part of the Vince Lombardi championship winning teams in the 1960s. During his time in Green Bay, he won three NFL titles and two Super Bowls. Adderley also won a Super Bowl with the Dallas Cowboys in 1972. 

By the time he had retired, Adderley—who was named as a first-team All-Pro four times in his career and a second-team All-Pro three times— had managed to amass 48 interceptions and 1,046 tackles. For his efforts, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980—the first Spartan to receive this honor.  He is also a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. 

To this day, Adderley is one of only three Spartan football players to be elected into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Offensive Lineman Joe DeLamielleure (2003) and kicker Morten Anderson (2017) are the only other former Michigan State players to receive this honor.