Clemson, NFL star Fred Cone dies at age 95

Fred Cone, long the oldest living former player of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers and a Clemson University football legend, died Friday morning at the age of 95, South Carolina’s WYFF reported.

Cone reportedly died at the hospital of complications from surgery to repair a broken hip he suffered in a fall weeks earlier.

Reports noted Cone did get a chance to watch his beloved Clemson Tigers defeat Iowa State in the Cheez-It Bowl from his hospital bed Wednesday night ahead of his death.

Star running back

According to, Cone was born in the small Alabama town of Pine Apple and actually never played any organized football until he was in college; the high school he attended was too small to field a team.

After graduating high school, Cone enlisted in the U.S. Army and fought during World War II before returning home to Alabama after the war concluded, where his athleticism was recognized by the sister of Clemson coach Frank Howard, who was in need of one more player to fill out his roster in 1947.

Despite never having played a formal game before, Cone became a star player at Clemson in the years that followed, leading them to two undefeated seasons and top finishes in the polls, while also setting records for rushing yards and touchdowns as a running back.

Top player

Cone was ultimately picked by the Green Bay Packers in the 1951 draft. He played for the team as a kicker and backup fullback until 1957.

During his time with the NFL, Cone had the distinction of kicking the first-ever extra point and field goal in the newly christened Lambeau Field, previously known as Green Bay City Stadium, in 1957.

He left the team as one of its most popular players among fans, in large part because he chose to live there full-time and married a local girl named Judy, who remained by his side for 67 years until his death, according to WYFF.

Hall of Famer

WYFF reported that Cone was inducted as a charter member in the Clemson Hall of Fame in 1973, as well as the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame that same year.

He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1974, named to Clemson’s 100-year Anniversary team in 1996, and given the school’s Ring of Honor in 1997.

“I am sad to hear of the passing of Fred Cone. He is a true football legend and one of the kindest men I have met,” current Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. “He lived an amazing life and I know will be missed by many. I am thankful that I was blessed to know him and hear him tell stories of his past Clemson and NFL days. He was truly a special man. May he rest in peace.”

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