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Jimmy Johnson, Hall of Fame defensive back for the 49ers, passes away at age 86.

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Hall of Fame defensive back Jimmy Johnson passed away at the age of 86, leaving behind a legacy of greatness on the football field. Johnson was a standout player for the San Francisco 49ers, who drafted him sixth overall in 1961. He lived up to his draft stock, eventually earning a bust in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1994. Known for his exceptional athleticism, Johnson was used on offense and defense early in his career before settling in as a lockdown cornerback.

Johnson made an immediate impact on defense in his rookie season, recording five interceptions. However, he was temporarily moved to wide receiver the following season, where he still managed to be a serviceable player. Ultimately, he found his true calling back on defense and excelled as a cornerback for the rest of his career. He was a second-team All-Pro in 1965 and 1966, followed by three consecutive first-team All-Pro selections from 1970 to 1972. Johnson also earned five Pro Bowl selections from 1969 to 1974.

Throughout his career, Johnson amassed 47 interceptions, the second-most in franchise history behind only Ronnie Lott. He also accumulated 615 return yards on picks, trailing only Lott’s 643 yards. Johnson’s contributions to the 49ers’ defense were instrumental in their success during the 1960s and 1970s. He was recognized for his stellar play by being named to the All-Decade Team of the 1970s, solidifying his place as one of the greatest defensive backs in franchise history.

In addition to his football prowess, Johnson came from an athletic family, as the brother of Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson. He showcased his versatility by playing two ways at UCLA, excelling as a wingback on offense while also showcasing his defensive skills. Johnson’s success on the football field was a testament to his dedication and talent, solidifying his place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Johnson’s impact extended beyond the field, as he left a lasting legacy on the game of football. His exceptional skills as a cornerback set the standard for future generations of defensive backs, with his ability to shut down opposing receivers earning him a reputation as a true lockdown corner. Johnson’s contributions to the 49ers’ defense during his tenure helped shape the team’s success and solidify their reputation as a powerhouse in the NFL.

In conclusion, Jimmy Johnson’s passing marks the end of an era for the San Francisco 49ers and the NFL as a whole. His exceptional career as a Hall of Fame defensive back will be remembered for years to come, inspiring future generations of football players to strive for greatness on and off the field. Johnson’s impact on the game and his enduring legacy as one of the greatest defensive backs of all time solidify his place in football history.

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