NFL Corridor of Famer Hugh McElhenny, an elusive working again from the Nineteen Fifties has died. He was 93.
The Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame stated in a information launch that McEhlenny died of pure causes on June 17 at his house in Nevada, and that son-in-law Chris Permann confirmed the demise.
Elected to the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1970, McElhenny’s thrilling runs and all-around abilities as a runner, receiver and kick returner made him one of many NFL’s prime gamers of the Nineteen Fifties. He was the league’s Rookie of the Yr 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 menace in all phases of the sport offensively — speeding, go receiving and as a kick and punt returner. His all-around expertise — apparent to professional soccer scouts when Hugh was nonetheless a teen — can be celebrated and preserved ceaselessly in Canton,” Corridor of Fame President Jim Porter stated in a press release.
An all-conference participant at Washington, the place he set a number of Pacific Coast Convention data, McElhenny was chosen ninth total within the 1952 draft and made a right away influence. Not solely did he lead the run-happy NFL in yards per carry (7.0) that season, however McElhenny had the longest rush 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 closing 12 months in San Francisco, was McElhenny not a focus for the Niners.
“The 49ers household is heartbroken to be taught 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 keep in mind so many nice gamers from the late 50s and 60s. After I began to ask an alum to each recreation, my purpose was to fulfill the “Million Greenback Backfield”. Hugh was the final of the 4 to affix us and we remained mates. Hugh is a good a part of 49ers historical past.”
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 once they have been nonetheless within the All-American Soccer Convention.
“When Hugh joined the 49ers in 1952,” Lou Spadia, then the group’s common supervisor, stated, “it was questionable whether or not our franchise may survive. McElhenny eliminated all doubts. That’s why we name him our franchise saver.”
Defenders would name him one thing else as they received arms filled with air as a substitute of the ball provider.
“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.”
Simply recognizable for his lengthy stride and excessive knee motion, McElhenny not solely was quick however had the strikes of a break dancer a long time earlier than break dancing turned a factor.
“Getting ready for a group that lists McElhenny on the roster,” stated Hamp Pool, who coached the archrival Rams from 1952-54, “you simply can’t take any possibilities.”
Coincidentally, his long-time 49ers backfield mate, fullback Joe Perry — one other Corridor of Famer — had performed at Compton Junior School in California, the place McElhenny starred earlier than heading to Washington. Collectively in San Francisco, they shaped one among professional soccer’s finest backfield tandems.
However the Niners made the postseason solely as soon as with McElhenny, shedding a Western Convention title playoff recreation with Detroit in 1957. By 1961, with McElhenny carrying down a bit, he was left on the growth draft listing and 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 another 12 months with Minnesota, spent 1963 as a backup with the New York Giants, the place he performed in his solely NFL title recreation, shedding to Chicago, and completed his profession in 1964 with Detroit.
When he retired, McElhenny was one among three gamers to have gained greater than 11,000 all-purpose yards.