As an all-American collegiate on the College of Washington and for greater than a decade within the Nationwide Soccer League, Mr. McElhenney has a repute as one of the crucial dynamic and charismatic gamers of his technology. He was a talented as a kick man, receiver and kicker, and was the NFL Participant of the Yr in 1952 and was the primary two-time skilled crew.
Drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in 1952, Mr. McElhenny led the NFL in yards per carry (7.0) in his rookie season, and had the league’s longest run of scrimmage (89 yards) and longest kickback (94 yards). He scored 10 landing factors: six by lunging, three by move receptions and one by kick return. After scoring 5 touchdowns in a single recreation in opposition to the Chicago Bears in his freshman 12 months, Mr. McElhenney earned a title that caught with him all through his profession: The King.
Lou Spadia, the crew’s normal supervisor on the time, mentioned, “When Hugh joined the 49ers in 1952, it was uncertain that our franchise would final. McElhenny eliminated all doubts. That is why we name it our franchise saver.”
In San Francisco, Mr. McElhenney was thought-about the 49ers’ “Million-Greenback Backfield” star, which included quarterback YA Tittle and linebacker Joe Perry and bruise again John Henry JohnsonAll have been later inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame.
With good film star seems to be, Mr. McElhenny was 6 ft 1 tall, weighed about 200 kilos and performed most of his profession with out a face masks. In a single match in 1952, he obtained a move from Teitel close to the midfield as a defender tore off his helmetMcElhenny continued to run bareheaded for 40 yards.
His teammate Perry referred to as him the very best wrecking discipline runner he is ever seen. Mr. McElhenny had a protracted stride, excessive knee movement and will change instructions with a rabbit-like agility. His working type is much like that of later NFL greats Gail Sayers and Barry Sanders.
Mr. McElhenny as soon as mentioned, “My perspective in carrying the ball was concern.” “Not for concern of getting harm, however for concern of falling behind and taking down and embarrassing myself and my teammates.”
He was remarkably fast for a participant of his period and will blast previous defenders too shortly or depart them sprawling with a tough transfer.
“I’ve by no means been a person who valued bodily contact, so I all the time tried to keep away from it as a lot as doable,” he mentioned on the NFL Movies manufacturing. “And possibly that was the rationale why I ran this fashion.”
McElhenny had his greatest begin to the 1954 season, main the league in dashing 515 yards within the 49ers’ first six video games, averaging 8 yards per carry. However he separated his shoulder and missed the remainder of the season. He earned his profession greatest 916 yards to the bottom in 1956. (NFL seasons consisted of 12 video games on the time).
In 1961, the Minnesota Vikings selected Mr. McElhenny within the enlargement draft, and he confirmed flashes of his outdated persona. He earned 570 yards off the bottom, earned 37 passes, returned an 81-yard kick for the landing and was chosen to the Professional Bowl.
Traded to the New York Giants in 1963, he was reunited with Teitel, the outdated quarterback, and performed within the Giants’ 14-10 loss to the Chicago Bears in an NFL Championship recreation. His final season with the Detroit Lions got here in 1964.
When he retired, Mr. McElhenny’s 11,375 all-purpose yards — working, passing, receiving and kicking again — was the third-highest in NFL historical past. Inducted into the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame in 1970 and School Soccer Corridor of Fame In 1981. 49 gamers retired together with his No. 39 jersey in 1971.
Hugh Edward McElhenney, Jr. was born on December 31, 1928 in Los Angeles. His father was a merchandising machine distributor, and his mom was a homemaker.
As a Los Angeles highschool athlete within the Forties, he set nationwide data within the excessive hurdles and state data within the low hurdles and lengthy bounce. He can run a 100-yard sprint in 9.6 seconds. He briefly attended the College of Southern California earlier than changing into a outstanding soccer participant at Compton Junior School in Los Angeles.
Subsequent, Mr. McElhenny performed for 3 years on the College of Washington, the place he set a crew file by dashing 1,107 yards in 1950—a complete that wasn’t surpassed till 1978. He gained 296 yards on the bottom in opposition to Washington State as a rookie. Husky file in singles recreation.
In his first season, he replayed a 100-yard gamble in opposition to Southern California, posing for one more future Corridor of Fame, Frank Gifford, within the play. Though Mr. McElhenny’s Washington crew gained solely three video games in 1951, it was an all-American consensus.
In 2004, Mr. McElhenny admitted that he accepted under-the-table funds from soccer supporters in Washington.
He informed the Seattle Submit-Intelligencer in 2004, “I do know it is unlawful to take money, and each month I get money. I do know it is unlawful to obtain garments, and I get garments on a regular basis from shops.”
“I used to be getting a examine each month, and the identical particular person by no means signed it, so we did not actually know who got here in. They invested in me yearly.”
After his enjoying profession, Mr. McElhenny was an announcer for the 49ers and was a part of a failed effort to deliver the NFL franchise to Seattle. (He was not a part of the Seattle Seahawks, which entered the NFL in 1976.) He later turned an government with the Washington Transit Authority in Seattle.
His ex-wife Peggy Auguston handed away on the age of 70 in 2019. Among the many survivors are two daughters; sister; 4 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Mr. McElhenney, who mentioned his highest wage as a participant was $25,000, mentioned modern-day soccer has develop into too difficult for his tastes.
“It’s totally difficult,” he informed the San Francisco Chronicle in 2020. “What you possibly can and might’t do while you’re coping with a man – typically I really feel such as you’re not supposed to the touch somebody. And there are such a lot of delays [for replays]. “The sport was rather a lot less complicated in my time – however I feel it was simply as enjoyable.”