Hugh McElhenny, hall of famer halfback, dead at 93

Hugh McElhenny, the elusive Corridor of Fame halfback who starred within the San Francisco 49ers’ “Million Greenback Backfield” within the mid-Nineteen Fifties, has died. He was 93.

The Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame stated Thursday that McEhlenny died of pure causes June 17 at his dwelling in Nevada, and that son-in-law Chris Permann confirmed the loss of life.

Elected to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1970, McElhenny’s thrilling runs and all-around expertise as a runner, receiver and kick returner made him one of many NFL’s prime gamers of the Nineteen Fifties. With the 49ers from 1954-56, McElhenny was a part of the “Million Greenback Backfield” with quarterback Y. A. Tittle, halfback John Henry Johnson and fullback Joe Perry – additionally all Corridor of Famers.

“The 49ers household is heartbroken to study of the passing of one of many NFL’s all-time greats, Hugh McElhenny,” San Francisco co-chairman Dr. John York stated in a press release. “Rising up, my favourite group was the 49ers. I bear in mind so many nice gamers from the late 50s and 60s.

“Once I began to ask an alum to each sport, my objective was to satisfy the `Million Greenback Backfield.′ Hugh was the final of the 4 to affix us and we remained associates. Hugh is a superb a part of 49ers historical past.”

McEhlenny was the NFL’s Rookie of the 12 months in 1952 (earlier than the award turned official) and made two All-Professional groups, six Professional Bowls and the NFL’s All-Decade squad of the Nineteen Fifties.

“Hugh McElhenny was a risk in all phases of the sport offensively – dashing, go receiving and as a kick and punt returner,” Corridor of Fame President Jim Porter stated in a press release. “His all-around expertise – apparent to professional soccer scouts when Hugh was nonetheless an adolescent – can be celebrated and preserved eternally in Canton.”

From Los Angeles, the 6-foot-1, 195-pound McElhenny started his faculty profession at Compton Junior Faculty earlier than starring at Washington, the place he set a number of Pacific Coast Convention information.

McElhenny was chosen ninth total by the 49ers within the 1952 draft and made an instantaneous influence. He led the NFL in yards per carry (7.0) that season and had t McElhenny had the longest run from scrimmage (89 yards) and the longest punt return (94 yards). He scored 10 touchdowns as a rookie.

It was the start of a stretch of 9 seasons through which McElhenny was the 49ers’ main offensive weapon. Solely in 1954, when a separated shoulder sidelined him after six video games, and 1960, his remaining 12 months in San Francisco, was McElhenny not a focus for the Niners.

McEhlenny additionally was one thing of a franchise savior, which was becoming as a result of the 49ers as soon as tried to signal him out of highschool – the place he starred at George Washington – after they have been nonetheless within the All-American Soccer Convention.

“When Hugh joined the 49ers in 1952, it was questionable whether or not our franchise may survive,” stated Lou Spadia, then the group’s basic supervisor. “McElhenny eliminated all doubts. That is why we name him our franchise saver.”

Defenders would name him one thing else as they bought arms filled with air as an alternative of the ball service.

“My angle carrying the ball was concern,” he stated. “Not a concern of getting harm, however a concern of getting caught from behind and brought down and embarrassing myself and my teammates.”

The Niners made the postseason solely as soon as with McElhenny, shedding a Western Convention title sport to Detroit in 1957. In 1961, McElhenny was left on the growth draft record and was scooped up by Minnesota. He had a strong season and made the Professional Bowl because the Vikings went 3-11 of their inaugural season.

Knee issues then slowed him. He performed yet one more 12 months with Minnesota, spent 1963 as a backup with the New York Giants, the place he performed in his solely NFL title sport, shedding to Chicago, and completed his profession in 1964 with Detroit.

When he retired, McElhenny was one in all three gamers to have gained greater than 11,000 all-purpose yards. In 146 profession regular-season video games in 13 seasons within the NFL, he rushed for five,281 yards and 38 touchdowns and had 3,247 yards and 20 touchdowns receiving.

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