Former Lions Safety Tom Vaughn Dies at Age 77

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistJuly 5, 2020

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 29: Detroit Lions helmet is seen on the field before the game between the Green Bay Packers and the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on December 29, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

Former NFL safety Tom Vaughn died, his alma mater Iowa State announced Sunday.

The Cyclones listed off the 77-year-old's achievements at the school prior to moving on to the pro ranks.

The Detroit Lions selected Vaughn with the 57th overall pick in the fifth round of the 1965 draft. He spent seven seasons with the team and finished his NFL career with nine interceptions and nine fumble recoveries. The Troy, Ohio, native was also a dynamic return man, averaging 25.7 yards on 62 kick returns.

Iowa State profiled Vaughn for Black History Month in 2013 and noted he returned to the school as a coach in 1975, leaving after the 1977 season. From there, he moved to Phoenix and became a high school teacher.

"I climbed the football ladder and it was good," Vaughn said. "Something else is going to come up and I'll climb another ladder. I appreciate each person for what they have to go through."

Vaughn also received an acting credit while playing himself in Paper Lion, a film adaptation of George Plimpton's book of the same name.

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