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The New England Patriots are mourning the loss of one of the franchise’s original members, linebacker Tom Addison.
A Lancaster native, Addison died Tuesday at his Bluffton home.
Addison attended the University of South Carolina where he lettered 1955, 1956 and 1957. He played a season under Rex Enright and two years under Warren Giese at USC.
He was a member of the 1956 USC team, which went 7-3, 4-2 in the ACC.
Addison was an outstanding football player at Lancaster High School under the late Wade Corn before signing with the Gamecocks.
He was originally drafted by the Baltimore Colts in the 12th round (141st overall) of the 1958 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-2, 230-pound prospect was also drafted by the Ottawa Rough Riders of the Canadian Football League, but eventually signed with the Boston franchise of the newly formed American Football League (AFL) in 1960. He played his entire eight-year career (1960-67) with the Boston Patriots and was selected to the team’s first all-decade team by a fan ballot in 1971. He is also a member of the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame.
Addison quickly became a leader for the fledgling franchise, earning All-AFL honors in 1960 (before an all-star game was formed), followed by four consecutive trips to the AFL All-Star game (1961-64). He was also a Sporting News All-League player in 1963 and 1964.
His leadership was recognized by his AFL peers, who formed the AFL Players Association in 1964 and elected Addison as the union’s first president. His contributions as president played a significant role in the development and competitiveness of the new league.
A graveside service for Addison, 75, is today at Lancaster Memorial Park at 10 a.m.