Hall of Fame running back John Henry Johnson has died at age 81, the San Francisco 49ers announced Saturday. Johnson, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1987 after a 14-season NFL career, died Friday in Tracy, Calif. Cause of death was not given.
A member of the "Million Dollar Backfield," Johnson played three seasons for the 49ers, 1954-56, and was a four-time Pro Bowler, 1954, 1962-64. Upon his retirement in 1966, his 6,803 career yards rushing trailed only Jim Brown, Jim Taylor, and former 49er Joe Perry. Johnson was also a productive receiver, catching 186 passes for 1,478 yards. He scored 55 touchdowns during his career.
"He was a good friend, not only to my family and me, but the entire 49ers organization," said club owner John York. "As a member of the 'Million Dollar Backfield' he holds a cherished place in both 49ers and NFL history. His contributions to the game of football will be forever celebrated."
That acclaimed backfield included three other future Hall of Famers: Perry, Hugh McElhenny, and Y.A. Tittle. The group remains the only full-house backfield to have all four of its members enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
AUTO RACING: Justin Allgaier caught and passed Carl Edwards on the final lap as both cars ran out of fuel to win the Nationwide STP 300 at his home track, the Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.
Edwards had led most of the night, fought off an earlier challenge from Elliott Sadler and was apparently on his way to a fourth series victory of the year. But Allgaier sped past coming into the third turn and Edwards couldn't respond because he was out of fuel. And then seconds later so was Allgaier, who somehow coasted to the finish line for the win with Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne closing fast.
BOXING: England's Carl Froch (28-1, 20 KOs) earned a hard-fought majority decision in a slugfest against Jamaica's Glen Johnson (51-15-2) at Boardwalk Hall's Adrian Phillips Ballroom in Atlantic City to retain his WBC super-middleweight title. With the win, the 33-year-old Froch advances to face WBA champion Andre Ward in the finals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic.
ROWING: The Drexel men's varsity four placed third in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship held on the Cooper River. Washington finished first with a time of 6 minutes, 19.045 seconds, and Brown was second at 6:21.859. Drexel's time was 6:23.039.
- Staff and wire reports