Paul Hornung, legendary NFL running back, dead at 84
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Paul Hornung, a Hall of Fame running back who played for the Green Bay Packers, has died. He was 84.
Hornung died in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., after a long battle with dementia, the Louisville Sports Commission said in a statement.
Hornung won the 1956 Heisman Trophy award with Notre Dame as a quarterback. He turned pro in 1957 and played for the Packers as a fullback and halfback after being selected No. 1 overall.
He spent nine seasons with the Packers and was suspended for the entirety of the 1963 season because of a gambling suspension.
He was a part of the 1966 Packers team that won the first-ever Super Bowl, defeating the American Football League’s Kansas City Chiefs 35-10.
Paul Hornung played his entire NFL career with the Packers. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
However, he didn’t play in the game because of neck issues. He was selected by the New Orleans Saints in the expansion draft the following season but never played for them.
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Vince Lombardi once described Hornung as “the most versatile man ever to play the game.” He finished his career with 50 rushing touchdowns and 3,711 rushing yards. He won the MVP award in 1961 and was a two-time All-Pro selection.
He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.
Hornung was at the center of some controversies over the course of his career and afterward.
He was suspended for the entirety of the 1963 season because he was caught betting on NFL games. To get back in the league, he agreed to stay away from Las Vegas and not attend the Kentucky Derby.
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In 2004, he came under fire for saying that Notre Dame had to do a better job of recruiting Black athletes. He was scrutinized by Notre Dame and legendary head coach Ara Parseghian.
The New York Times piled on saying he lacked common sense. He attempted to clarify his comments by saying he wasn’t trying to offend anyone, he just wanted the team to get better regardless of race.
He would also go on to be a sports broadcaster on multiple networks and he wrote a few books.
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He is survived by his wife Angela Hornung. A public celebration of his life is set to take place at a later date.
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