Eddie Meador, a six-time Pro Bowler with the Los Angeles Rams and member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame All-1960s Team, has died, the team announced Tuesday. He was 86 years old.
Meador, a two-time first-team All-Pro defensive back, played 12 NFL seasons, all of them as a starter for the Rams.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of an NFL great, Eddie Meador, who was a standout leader for our organization and the Los Angeles community throughout his entire 12-year career,” the team said in a statement. “He was an instinctive and fearless competitor who captained some of the greatest defenses in NFL history. Eddie’s ability to galvanize teammates made him a heartbeat of the Rams and his humility made him approachable to everyone. The Meador family and friends are at the core of our thoughts, and his legacy will live on forever.”
Meador, who was bestowed with the NFL Players Association Alan Page Community Award in 1969, remains atop the Rams’ record books with 46 career interceptions and tied with five INT return touchdowns. He played in 163 career games with 160 starts and also had 22 career fumble recoveries.
A seventh-round pick in the 1959 NFL Draft out of Arkansas Tech, Meador was an instant contributor for the Rams, starting in 11 games as a rookie and grabbing three interceptions.
From 1966 through 1970, with George Allen as head coach and Meador playing sensational ball behind Hall of Fame defensive linemen Deacon Jones and Merlin Olsen, L.A.’s defense was top five in the NFL in points allowed each season.
In 1967, Meador tallied a career-high eight interceptions as the Rams won the NFL Coastal Division and went to the postseason for the first time in his career. L.A. produced three straight double-digit win seasons from 1967-1969, winning division titles and earning playoff berths in ’67 and ’69. Meador was a Pro Bowler in each of those seasons and an All-Pro in the latter two.
Having officially played in the NFL in parts of three decades, Meador’s final campaign came in 1970. He started in 13 games in his final year, wrapping up a career in which he started a minimum of 11 games each season.