Hugh McElhenny, NFL Hall Of Fame Running Back, Dead At 93

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NFL Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny, an elusive moving backmost from the 1950s has died. He was 93.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame said successful a quality merchandise that McEhlenny died of earthy causes connected June 17 astatine his location successful Nevada, and that son-in-law Chris Permann confirmed the death.

Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame successful 1970, McElhenny’s thrilling runs and all-around skills arsenic a runner, receiver and footwear returner made him 1 of the NFL’s apical players of the 1950s. He was the league’s Rookie of the Year successful 1952 (before the grant became official) and made 2 All-Pro teams, six Pro Bowls and the NFL’s All-Decade squad of the 1950s.

“Hugh McElhenny was a menace successful each phases of the crippled offensively — rushing, walk receiving and arsenic a footwear and punt returner. His all-around endowment — evident to pro shot scouts erstwhile Hugh was inactive a teen — volition beryllium celebrated and preserved everlastingly successful Canton,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said successful a statement.

An all-conference subordinate astatine Washington, wherever helium acceptable respective Pacific Coast Conference records, McElhenny was selected ninth wide successful the 1952 draught and made an contiguous impact. Not lone did helium pb the run-happy NFL successful yards per transportation (7.0) that season, but McElhenny had the longest unreserved from scrimmage, 89 yards, and the longest punt return, 94 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns arsenic a rookie.

It was the opening of a agelong of 9 seasons successful which McElhenny was the 49ers’ superior violative weapon. Only successful 1954, erstwhile a separated enarthrosis sidelined him aft six games, and 1960, his last twelvemonth successful San Francisco, was McElhenny not a focal constituent for the Niners.

“The 49ers household is heartbroken to larn of the passing of 1 of the NFL’s all-time greats, Hugh McElhenny,” San Francisco co-chairman Dr. John York said successful a statement. “Growing up, my favourite squad was the 49ers. I retrieve truthful galore large players from the precocious 50s and 60s. When I started to invitation an alum to each game, my extremity was to conscionable the “Million Dollar Backfield”. Hugh was the past of the 4 to articulation america and we remained friends. Hugh is simply a large portion of 49ers history.”

McEhlenny besides was thing of a franchise savior, which was fitting due to the fact that the 49ers erstwhile tried to motion him retired of precocious schoolhouse erstwhile they were inactive successful the All-American Football Conference.

“When Hugh joined the 49ers successful 1952,” Lou Spadia, past the team’s wide manager, said, “it was questionable whether our franchise could survive. McElhenny removed each doubts. That’s wherefore we telephone him our franchise saver.”

Defenders would telephone him thing other arsenic they got arms afloat of aerial alternatively of the shot carrier.

“My cognition carrying the shot was fear,” helium said. “Not a fearfulness of getting hurt, but a fearfulness of getting caught from down and taken down and embarrassing myself and my teammates.”

Easily recognizable for his agelong stride and precocious genu action, McElhenny not lone was accelerated but had the moves of a interruption dancer decades earlier interruption dancing became a thing.

“Preparing for a squad that lists McElhenny connected the roster,” said Hamp Pool, who coached the archrival Rams from 1952-54, “you conscionable can’t instrumentality immoderate chances.”

Coincidentally, his long-time 49ers backfield mate, fullback Joe Perry — different Hall of Famer — had played astatine Compton Junior College successful California, wherever McElhenny starred earlier heading to Washington. Together successful San Francisco, they formed 1 of pro football’s champion backfield tandems.

But the Niners made the postseason lone erstwhile with McElhenny, losing a Western Conference rubric playoff crippled with Detroit successful 1957. By 1961, with McElhenny wearing down a bit, helium was near connected the enlargement draught database and scooped up by Minnesota. He had a coagulated play and made the Pro Bowl arsenic the Vikings went 3-11 successful their inaugural season.

Knee problems past slowed him. He played 1 much twelvemonth with Minnesota, spent 1963 arsenic a backup with the New York Giants, wherever helium played successful his lone NFL rubric game, losing to Chicago, and finished his vocation successful 1964 with Detroit.

When helium retired, McElhenny was 1 of 3 players to person gained much than 11,000 all-purpose yards.


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