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George Peoples; played season with Patriots

TAMPA -- Former Auburn University and NFL running back George Peoples was found dead yesterday in a Tampa motel room. He was 43.

No cause of death was announced, and members of Mr. Peoples' family, reached at their Tampa home, declined to comment last night.

Police said Mr. Peoples, who played for the New England Patriots in 1983, was staying at the motel. Firefighters forced their way into the room after motel officials were unable to reach Mr. Peoples and became suspicious.

He was last seen alive Saturday, police said. The medical examiner's office is investigating the death.

Mr. Peoples spent three seasons in the NFL, the last 1984 with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

Mr. Peoples ran track and played college football at Auburn, where he preceded Bo Jackson in the backfield and received the team's offensive player of the year award in 1981. He was chosen in the eighth round of the 1982 NFL draft by Dallas.

He played all 16 games with New England in 1983, but had no rushing attempts. Most of his play was with special teams. He was waived in training camp in 1984 and signed with Tampa Bay as a backup fullback with six games left in the season.

He was in training camp with the Bucs the following year but was cut before the regular season began.

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