Former Pro Bowl offensive lineman Rockne “Rocky” Freitas has died, the University of Hawaii announced. He was 76.
The Steelers selected Freitas in the third round of the 1967 draft, but he never played a down for Pittsburgh. He played 10 seasons with the Lions from 1968-77 and spent a season with the Bucs in 1978.
Freitas made the Pro Bowl and earned second-team All-Pro honors in 1972.
He started 115 of the 121 games he appeared in while with the Lions. He appeared in one playoff game with the franchise in 1970. Freitas played 13 games with two starts with the Bucs.
Freitas, a native of Kailua, Hawaii, spent 23 years in administrative roles with the University of Hawaii after his playing career ended. He briefly was the school’s athletic director in 2012.
“Rockne’s heart was as big as the rest of him,” University of Hawaii president David Lassner said in a news release. “Regardless of his job, he was always ready to step in and help with whatever needed doing. Among his many, many contributions was his leadership in establishing the Hawaiʻi Papa O Ke Ao (Hawaiʻi Foundation of Enlightenment/Knowledge) initiative to help the University of Hawaiʻi on our path to become a model Indigenous-serving institution of higher education. The university extends our deepest condolences to Ala and the entire Freitas family as well as all who knew and loved Rockne.”
Freitas’ son, Makoa, was a sixth-round choice of the Colts in 2003 and appeared in 28 games with six starts in two seasons.