Hugh McElhenny, a member of the Professional Soccer Corridor 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 Corridor of Fame introduced Thursday.
McElhenny died of pure causes at his dwelling in Nevada, the Corridor of Fame mentioned.
Identified 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 surely was his nine-year run with the San Francisco 49ers that vaulted “Hurryin’ Hugh” to soccer stardom.
Utilizing a standard T-formation, the 49ers employed the famed “Million Greenback Backfield,” which featured fullback Joe Perry, quarterback Y.A. Tittle and halfback John Henry Johnson, together with McElhenny, a six-time Professional Bowl choice who had a career-high 916 yards and eight touchdowns on the bottom in 1956.
“Hugh McElhenny was a risk in all phases of the sport offensively — speeding, cross receiving and as a kick and punt returner,” Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame president Jim Porter mentioned. “His all-around expertise — apparent to professional soccer scouts when Hugh was nonetheless an adolescent — will probably be celebrated and preserved eternally in Canton.”
McElhenny performed within the Nationwide Soccer League for 13 years – 1952-1960 San Francisco 49ers, 1961-62 Minnesota Vikings and 1964 Detroit Lions.
— Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) June 23, 2022
McElhenny’s distinctive operating model stood out in an period the place most operating backs used extra deliberate, smashmouth approaches.
The No. 9 general 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, also called “The King,” shortly turned a prime goal for Tittle out of the backfield, utilizing his 6-foot-1, 195-pound body to weave his approach via 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 household is heartbroken to study of the passing of one of many NFL’s all-time greats, Hugh McElhenny,” 49ers co-chair Dr. John York mentioned in a press release. “Rising up, my favourite crew was the 49ers. I bear in mind so many nice gamers from the late ’50s and ’60s. After I began to ask an alum to each sport, my aim was to satisfy 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.”
McElhenny, a Los Angeles native, was a five-time first-team All-Professional choice and was named to the NFL’s Nineteen Fifties All-Decade Group. 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 one in every of solely three gamers to have amassed greater than 11,000 all-purpose yards (11,375). He was inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1970, and he’s additionally a member of the School Soccer Corridor of Fame.
On his enshrinement day in Canton, a humbled and emotional McElhenny opened by acknowledging his teammates via the years, in addition to his opponents.
“I wish to pay tribute to the athletes that I performed with for his or her second efforts which made my runs profitable,” McElhenny mentioned, “and to my opponents for all of the errors 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.