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Former USC standout and fan favorite Mosi Tatupu dies [updated]

February 24, 2010 |  9:24 am

Mosi Former USC standout and longtime NFL running back Mosi Tatupu died at a hospital in Attleboro, Mass., on Tuesday. The cause of death has not been reported. He was 54.

Tatupu spent the majority of his 14-year NFL career with the New England Patriots. He rushed for 2,415 yards and 18 touchdowns over his career. The American Samoa native played his final pro season with the Rams in 1991.

Tatupu, a fan favorite who was best known for his special teams play, was drafted by the Patriots in the eighth round of the 1978 draft. He rushed for 1,277 career yards while with the Trojans and was part of USC's 1974 national championship team.

[UPDATED at 12:03 p.m.: "As a teammate, he was one of the best," former Patriots quarterback Steve Grogan said. "He was one of those guys that made life fun whether it was in the locker room or on the practice fields. He had a smile that radiated."]

His son, Lofa Tatupu, is a linebacker with the Seattle Seahawks.

We'll have more on Tatupu soon at

-- Austin Knoblauch

Photo: Mosi Tatupu rushes the ball during a game against Cal on Oct. 30, 1976. Credit: Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Times