Former San Francisco 49ers halfback Hugh McElhenny passed away on Friday, June 17, 2022 at the age of 93. A Pro Football Hall of Fame selection (1970) and Edward J. DeBartolo, Sr. 49ers Hall of Fame inductee (2009).
"The 49ers family is heartbroken to learn of the passing of one of the NFL's all-time greats, Hugh McElhenny," said 49ers Co-Chair Dr. John York. "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 long thereafter. Hugh is a great part of 49ers history."
Originally drafted ninth overall by the 49ers in the 1952 NFL Draft, McElhenny played nine seasons in San Francisco where he registered 877 carries for 4,288 yards and 35 touchdowns as well as 192 receptions for 2,640 yards and 15 touchdowns. As a rookie in 1952, he registered the season's longest run from scrimmage (89 yards), the longest punt return (94 yards), and the top rushing average (7.0 yards per carry) and was named the NFL's Rookie of the Year. McElhenny was named a Pro Bowler six times (1952-53, 1956-58, 1961) and an All-Pro by the Associated Press on five occasions (First-Team 1952-53; Second-Team 1954, 1956-57). He was also named a member the NFL 1950s All-Decade Team following his Hall of Fame career.
Born Hugh Edward McElhenny Jr. in Los Angeles, CA, he attended the University of Washington where he received First-Team All-American honors from the Associated Press and finished eighth in Heisman voting after posting 936 rushing yards on 169 carries as a senior in 1951. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1981. McElhenny spent two seasons with the Minnesota Vikings (1961-62), one season with the New York Giants (1963) and one season with the Detroit Lions (1964) following his time with the 49ers.
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