Sports

Paul Hornung, “Golden Boy” of the Green Bay Packers, dies at 84


LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Paul Hornung, the dazzling “Golden Boy” of the Green Bay Packers whose singular ability to generate points as a runner, receiver, quarterback and kicker helped turn the team into an NFL dynasty, died Friday. He was 84.

Associated Press file photoPaul Hornung, of the Green Bay Packers, in an undated photo. Hornung, the dazzling “Golden Boy” of the Green Bay Packers whose singular ability to generate points as a runner, receiver, quarterback, and kicker helped turn them into an NFL dynasty, has died, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020. He was 84. (AP Photo, File)

Hornung’s family confirmed his death to the Louisville Sports Commission and to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

In July 2016, Hornung sued equipment manufacturer Riddell Inc., saying football helmets he wore during his professional career failed to protect him from brain injury. Hornung suffered multiple concussions with the Packers and had been diagnosed with dementia, the lawsuit said.

Hornung won the 1956 Heisman Trophy at Notre Dame. He was the NFL MVP in 1961 and played on four championship teams (1961, ’62, ‘65 and ’66).

He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

Hornung and another of the league’s top stars, Detroit’s Alex Karras, were suspended for 1963 by Commissioner Pete Rozelle for betting on NFL games and associating with undesirable persons. They returned to the NFL the next year.

Hornung won the Heisman as a quarterback. But he switched to halfback in the pros and was one of the NFL’s most dynamic players in Green Bay.

Playing alongside numerous future Hall of Famers, the blond, fun-loving Hornung was a favorite of Packers coach Vince Lombardi, who thought of the young star as a son and singled him out for praise and chastisement. Frequent fines for missing curfew were forgiven once the game started, especially when the dashing No. 5 got close to the end zone.

“In the middle of the field he may be only slightly better than an average ballplayer,” Lombardi once said, “but inside the 20-yard line he is one of the greatest I have ever seen. He smells that goal line.”

Hornung already was on the team when Lombardi arrived in Green Bay in 1959. The Packers made Hornung the first pick of the 1957 draft after he won the Heisman Trophy for a Notre Dame team that went 2-8.

Hornung teamed with bruising fullback Jim Taylor for one of the NFL’s greatest backfields. They were known for the unstoppable power sweeps led by guards Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston. But Hornung was also a force as a passer, blocker, receiver and kicker. He finished his nine-year career with 760 points on 62 touchdowns, 66 field goals and 190 extra points.

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Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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