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49ers legend Hugh McElhenny, one of the NFL’s early stars, dies at age 93

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Hugh McElhenney, shown with the New York Giants in 1963, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970.  (AP Photo/Harry Harris)
Hugh McElhenney, shown with the New York Giants in 1963, was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. (AP Photo/Harry Harris)

Before Joe Montana, Steve Young, or Jerry Rice came along, the San Francisco 49ers celebrated Hugh McElhenney.

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McElhenney was one of the NFL’s brightest stars during the 1950s, when the game was booming. He was one of the first 49ers players to have his number retired. No one has worn number 39 for the 49ers since 1971, when his number was retired by the team.

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McElhenney has died at the age of 93, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced Thursday.

He was known as “The King”, a nickname that suited him well in his prime.

Hugh McElhenney was the star of the 49ers.

In 1952, McElhenney joined the 49ers as a first-round pick after an excellent college career in Washington. As a rookie, he was a professional bowler and All-Pro on the first team. He had a 94-yard punt return and an 89-yard run as a rookie, both the longest in the NFL that season.

His dominance continued until the 1950s. He was named to the Team of the Decade. His rushing running style contributed to his all-purpose 11,375 yards.

McElhenney is best known as a 49er. He won the Pro Bowl five times in his nine seasons with the team. He moved on to the expansion Minnesota Vikings in 1961 and made another Pro Bowl with them, an impressive feat for a 33-year-old on a brand new team. He also played for the Detroit Lions and New York Giants before retiring after the 1964 season.

McElhenney was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970. McElhenney was ahead of his time with an all-around talent for running back, whose ability on the open field made him almost unstoppable.

Other spins in the following decades copied McElhenney’s style with great success. But McElhenney will always be King, especially for old 49ers fans.



Source: sports.yahoo.com

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