Hall of Fame halfback Hugh McElhenny dies at age 93

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Hugh McElhenny, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame who used his velocity and elusiveness to rise to prominence as a halfback within the Nineteen Fifties, died June 17 at age 93, the Hall of Fame introduced Thursday.

McElhenny died of pure causes at his residence in Nevada, the Hall of Fame mentioned.

Known for his lengthy strides and high-knee propulsion, McElhenny rushed for five,281 yards and 38 touchdowns in a 13-year profession that included stops with the Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants and Detroit Lions. But it was his nine-year run with the San Francisco 49ers that vaulted “Hurryin’ Hugh” to soccer stardom.

Using a conventional T-formation, the 49ers employed the famed “Million Dollar Backfield,” which featured fullback Joe Perry, quarterback Y.A. Tittle and halfback John Henry Johnson, together with McElhenny, a six-time Pro Bowl choice who had a career-high 916 yards and eight touchdowns on the bottom in 1956.

“Hugh McElhenny was a threat in all phases of the game offensively — rushing, pass receiving and as a kick and punt returner,” Pro Football Hall of Fame president Jim Porter mentioned. “His all-around talent — obvious to pro football scouts when Hugh was still a teenager — will be celebrated and preserved forever in Canton.”

McElhenny’s distinctive operating type stood out in an period the place most operating backs used extra deliberate, smashmouth approaches.

The No. 9 total choice within the 1952 NFL draft by the 49ers out of Washington, McElhenny burst onto the skilled scene, turning his first play from scrimmage right into a 40-yard landing run. McElhenny, often known as “The King,” shortly turned a high goal for Tittle out of the backfield, utilizing his 6-foot-1, 195-pound body to weave his manner by defenses off display passes.

McElhenny had 37 catches for 458 yards and two touchdowns in 1957, and he completed his profession with 264 receptions for 3,247 yards and 20 scores.

“The 49ers family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of the NFL’s all-time greats, Hugh McElhenny,” 49ers co-chair Dr. John York mentioned in an announcement. “Growing up, my favorite team was the 49ers. I remember so many great players from the late ’50s and ’60s. When I started to invite an alum to every game, my goal was to meet the ‘Million Dollar Backfield.’ Hugh was the last of the four to join us and we remained friends. Hugh is a great part of 49ers history.”

McElhenny, a Los Angeles native, was a five-time first-team All-Pro choice and was named to the NFL’s Nineteen Fifties All-Decade Team. He was a first-team All-American in 1951 with the Huskies, and his No. 39 is retired by the 49ers.

Upon retirement following the 1964 season, McElhenny was considered one of solely three gamers to have amassed greater than 11,000 all-purpose yards (11,375). He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970, and he’s additionally a member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

On his enshrinement day in Canton, a humbled and emotional McElhenny opened by acknowledging his teammates by the years, in addition to his opponents.

“I want to pay tribute to the athletes that I played with for their second efforts which made my runs successful,” McElhenny mentioned, “and to my opponents for all the mistakes they made to make me look good.”

McElhenny performed in simply two postseason NFL video games — one for the 49ers in 1957 and one for the Giants in 1963 — speeding for 101 yards on 21 carries. He additionally caught eight passes for 116 yards and a landing.




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