According to many major media reports, the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced on Friday that enshrined halfback Hugh McElhenny from the class of 1970 passed away about a week ago at the age of 93 from natural causes. While the electrifying runner and kick returner spent almost his entire career with the San Francisco team that drafted him, the Detroit Lions paid tribute to the fact that McElhenny closed out his career in Detroit in 1964:
The intersections of McElhenny’s career path and the Detroit Lions are quite interesting. According to an Associated Press story, the 49ers only made it to the playoffs once during McElhenny’s time as a superstar back for that team. That year was 1957, and the confident 49ers busted open a massive 24-7 halftime lead over the Lions in the Western Conference playoff game. Somehow, the Lions came back to win that game, and went on to win the 1957 championship game against the Browns.
The Niners left McElhenny unprotected in the expansion draft for the Minnesota Vikings in 1961, and he was selected to be part of the inaugural roster for the Vikings franchise. McElhenny was their first Pro Bowler, and the photo at the top of this article comes from their first road visit to Detroit in Vikings history. It shows McElhenny being tackled by Gary Lowe and Dick LeBeau on December 10, 1961 at Tiger Stadium.
McElhenny played in the National Football League for 13 years – 1952-1960 San Francisco 49ers, 1961-62 Minnesota Vikings and 1964 Detroit Lions.— Pro Football Hall of Fame (@ProFootballHOF) June 23, 2022
Nicknamed “The King,” McElhenny was enshrined as a member of the Hall of Fame’s Class of 1970. #HOFForever pic.twitter.com/zKW5Tqyiu2
The Hall of Famer’s incredible career came to a quiet end with the Lions, but “The King” was a headliner in the 1950s and a member of the all-decade team of that era who will not be forgotten. Now, on to the rest of today’s Notes:
- Linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard posted a short video of his dope new tattoo to Instagram.
- Lions center Frank Ragnow is all about heritage and history:
- Perhaps you have been following the USFL season, and perhaps not. If you need a refresher to catch up on what’s happening in the upcoming USFL playoffs, Bryan Knowles from Football Outsiders has a great USFL playoffs preview article that has you covered.
- Per Tom Pelissero, there will not be a supplemental draft this year:
- Former Lions running back Joique Bell had quite the golfing group in Benton Harbor earlier this week.
- Lions wide receiver DJ Chark is ready for this season to begin: