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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Jimmy Johnson, 49ers legend and Corridor of Fame cornerback, dies at 86

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Former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmy Johnson, one of many NFL’s finest defensive backs within the Nineteen Sixties, died Wednesday night at age 86 — the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame introduced. Johnson was inducted into the Corridor in 1994 after 16 seasons with San Francisco, incomes three First Workforce All-Professional choices and 5 Professional Bowl choices.

“Jimmy Johnson was terribly athletically gifted. The 49ers loved the luxurious of utilizing him on offense and protection early in his profession to fill staff wants,” Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame President Jim Porter mentioned in a press launch. “As soon as he settled in at left cornerback, he flourished. The notion {that a} ‘lockdown’ cornerback may lower the sector in half for the opposition was true with Jimmy.

“Solely not often would different groups’ quarterbacks even look his route, and as a rule regretted the choice in the event that they challenged him.”

The brother of former Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson, Jimmy Johnson was chosen by the 49ers within the first spherical of the 1961 NFL Draft. He began 205 video games with the 49ers and recorded 47 interceptions, second solely in franchise historical past to Ronnie Lott. His 213 video games performed with the 49ers path solely Jerry Rice (238). 

The 49ers additionally issued an announcement Thursday:

“The 49ers household is deeply saddened by the passing of one of many NFL’s all-time greats, Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy embodied the essence of what it meant to be a 49er. He was the final word gentleman and can be remembered for his humility, kindness and loveable demeanor. We ship our condolences to his spouse Gisela and his complete household at this tough time.”  

One of many biggest gamers in 49ers’ historical past, Johnson was among the many unique shutdown cornerbacks. Former 49ers quarterback John Brodie revealed veteran quarterbacks did not throw Johnson’s means due to the concern of being intercepted. 

“Jim does not obtain a lot publicity as a result of the opposition avoids him as a lot as doable,” Brodie mentioned again once they have been teammates, by way of the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame web site. “Speak to veteran quarterbacks like John Unitas and Bart Starr and so they’ll let you know they name few cross patterns in Jimmy’s space. 

“The one motive Johnson does not lead the league in interceptions is he does not get the prospect.”

Initially drafted as a two-way participant, Johnson moved to protection full time in 1964. He had 34 catches for 627 yards and 4 touchdowns in 1962, together with an 80-yard landing reception in opposition to the Chicago Bears and a 181-yard efficiency in opposition to the Detroit Lions in that season. 

Johnson was an All-Professional for 4 consecutive years and was a member of the All-Decade Workforce of the Nineteen Seventies. The 49ers retired Johnson’s jersey in 1977, the primary season after he retired. Johnson was additionally a constitution member of the San Francisco 49ers Corridor of Fame, which debuted in 2009. 

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