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Sun Devil football mourns the passing of Hall of Famer John Henry Johnson

June 06, 2011

John Henry Johnson, a member of both the Pro Football and Arizona State Sports Hall of Fame, has died at the age of 81. Johnson starred for the 1952 Border Conference champs as offensive and defensive back in his only season at ASU. Johnson played fullback professionally for the 49ers, Lions, Steelers and Oilers.

Johnson started his NFL career in San Francisco in 1954, as part of the 49ers' "Million Dollar Backfield," which also included running backs Joe Perry and Hugh McElhenny and quarterback Y.A. Tittle.

In 1957 Johnson was a key part of the Lions' NFL Championship team, and he had two different 1,000-yard seasons with the Steelers, in 1962 and 1964. He concluded his career by leaving the NFL for the AFL and playing one season with the Houston Oilers in 1966.

Johnson finished his career with 6,803 yards and 48 touchdowns rushing and 186 catches for 1,478 yards and another seven touchdowns. Johnson was inducted into the ASU Sports Hall of Fame in 1976 and was inducted into Professional Football Hall of Fame in 1987 following a professional career that spanned 14 seasons.