Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame legend, dies at 84

Paul Hornung was a Vince Lombardi favorite and maybe the most important player on the famed coach’s early championship teams with the Gree...

Paul Hornung was a Vince Lombardi favorite and maybe the most important player on the famed coach’s early championship teams with the Green Bay Packers.

Lombardi loved Hornung for his versatile skill set and clutch play as the featured left halfback in the Packers’ offense, as well as for his fun-loving off-field persona that helped get Hornung the nickname “Golden Boy.”

Hornung, who also won the 1956 Heisman Trophy, died Friday in his hometown of Louisville, Kentucky at age 84 after a long battle with dementia, the Louisville Sports Commission announced.

Though Hornung never put up big rushing numbers in the NFL – his single-season high for rushing was only 681 yards – he filled the key position in Lombardi’s offense as a runner in the famed Lombardi sweep and option passer. He was a big back (6-feet-2 and 215 pounds) with a nose for the goal line and for much of his career also was the Packers’ kicker.

Packers halfback Paul Hornung was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.

His 176 points in the 12-game 1960 season was an NFL record that stood until 2006, 29 years after the league had moved to a 16-game schedule. He was voted the NFL’s most-valuable player that season.

Hornung also was voted a member of the NFL’s all-decade team of the 1960s and into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986 after a nine-year career that ended in 1966. But perhaps the greatest tribute to him came from Lombardi himself in his two-volume book, “Vince Lombardi on Football,” which was published in 1973.

JERSEY: Packers should retire Paul Hornung’s number

“Paul may have been the best all-around back ever to play football,” Lombardi wrote.

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Newsrust: Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame legend, dies at 84
Paul Hornung, Green Bay Packers and Notre Dame legend, dies at 84
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