Freddie’s one of the guys, along with Randy Cross and Keith Fahnhorst, who were a bridge from the miserable 49ers teams before Walsh to the mid-’80s period when the team really established itself among the NFL elite. He came to San Francisco in 1978 along with safety Vern Roberson in a trade with Miami in which the 49ers gave up halfback Del Williams, and led the 49ers with all of 31 receptions in that 1978 season.
Later on, Solomon said this about the arrival of Walsh: “He was a lot different from the previous coach. He was, as they stated, innovative and creative in his approach to the game. So you could feel that there was a difference in what was going on there. There were players coming and going. He was trying to put together the right pieces to the puzzle to make his team work.”
The aging Solomon was edged out of the lineup by Jerry Rice in 1985 just a year after an outstanding 1984 season. He announced his retirement before the season ended, saying: “Every athlete must face retirement eventually. I don’t want to be a hanger-on. I feel I’m at the top of my career. I’ve got my health, family, friends and many, many memories. When this season is over, it’s time.”
Solomon went back to Tampa and started working in community relations for the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Department. He’d quarterbacked at the University of Tampa in the early and mid-’70s, rushing for a pretty outstanding 1,300 yards and 19 touchdowns in 1974. ”Fabulous Freddie” was his nickname, and he got 5,803 total yards at Tampa and set a record for college quarterbacks with 3,299 career rushing yards (with 39 TDs and a 76.7 yards per game average). The Dolphins drafted him in 1975, and he was jack of all trades there for three years, playing wide receiver, quarterback, running back, and kick returner.