Paul Hornung, “The Golden Boy” who starred for Notre Dame in the 1950s and the Green Bay Packers in the 1960s, has died at age 84, the Louisville Sports Commission announced Friday.
The commission said Hornung had dementia.
Hornung, born Dec. 23, 1935, in Louisville, Kentucky, was one of only seven players to win the Heisman Trophy and be named NFL MVP by The Associated Press. The others were Lamar Jackson, Cam Newton, Barry Sanders, Marcus Allen, Earl Campbell and O.J. Simpson.
He won the Heisman in 1956 while playing for a 2-8 Notre Dame team. In becoming the only player to win the award while starring for a losing team, Hornung led the Fighting Irish in passing, rushing, scoring, kickoff returns, punt returns and punting. On defense, he led the team in passes broken up and was second in tackles and interceptions.
Hornung was chosen by the Packers No. 1 overall in the 1957 NFL draft, the first of nine future Hall of Famers selected that year. Hornung — along with fellow Packers stars Bart Starr, Jim Taylor and Jerry Kramer, as well as innovative coach Vince Lombardi — went on to lead the struggling franchise to the 1960 NFL title game, a 19-17 loss to the Eagles.
In that 1960 season, the star running back accounted for an NFL-record 176 points — via touchdowns, field goals and extra points — a mark that stood for 46 years. Hornung was named a first-team All-Pro that season, an honor he repeated the following year in leading the Packers to the first of four titles they would win while he was on the team.
But a pinched nerve in his neck suffered earlier in his career started to slow Hornung. Then a gambling scandal brought his career to a temporary halt: He was suspended for the 1963 season by commissioner Pete Rozelle, who found that Hornung and Detroit Lions star Alex Karras had bet on NFL games and associated with “known hoodlums.”
Hornung was reinstated for the 1964 season, but his best years were behind him. He rushed for 299 yards in the Packers’ 1965 NFL championship season, then 200 yards in nine games in 1966, when the Packers won the first Super Bowl.
After wrapping up a career in which he became the only player in NFL history to score 50 touchdowns and kick 50 field goals and earned inductions into both the Pro and College Football Halls of Fame, he was a frequent face on TV football broadcasts, working for CBS alongside such legends as Lindsey Nelson and Vin Scully.
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