Connect with us


49ers Hall of Fame defensive back Jimmy Johnson dies at 86

Hall of Fame defensive back Jimmy Johnson died Wednesday at the age of 86.

Johnson was a star for the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him sixth overall in 1961.

He lived up to his draft stock, earning a bust in Canton in 1994.

“Jimmy Johnson was extraordinarily athletically talented,” Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said. “The 49ers enjoyed the luxury of using him on offense and defense early in his career to fill team needs. Once he settled in at left cornerback, he flourished. The notion that a ‘lockdown’ cornerback could cut the field in half for the opposition was true with Jimmy. Only rarely would other teams’ quarterbacks even look his direction and, more often than not, regretted the decision if they challenged him.”

Johnson made an impact on defense in his rookie season, recording five interceptions, but San Fran moved him to wide receiver the next season.

Jimmy Johnson with ball


Even there, he was serviceable, catching 34 passes (11 of them in one game) for 626 yards, but he moved back to defense the next season, where he remained for the rest of his illustrious career.

Johnson was a second-team All-Pro in 1965 and 1966, then a first-teamer from 1970 to 1972. He made five Pro Bowls from 1969 to 1974.

His 47 career interceptions are the second-most in franchise history, behind only Ronnie Lott’s 51. He also trails Lott (643) in return yards on picks (615). He is a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1970s.

Jimmy Johnson old photo

The brother of Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson, Jimmy Johnson played two ways at UCLA. He was a wingback on offense and a defensive back, while also competing in track as a hurdler and broad jumper.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Follow Fox News Digital’s sports coverage on X, and subscribe to the Fox News Sports Huddle newsletter.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Must See

More in News