Green Bay Packers legend, Pro Football Hall of Fame member and Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung died Thursday in his hometown of Louisville, Ky., after a long battle with dementia. He was 84.
His passing was announced Friday by the Louisville Sports Commission.
Known as “The Golden Boy,” Hornung was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame, where he won the 1956 Heisman.
He won four NFL championships (1961, 1962, 1965, plus the Super Bowl following the 1966 seasdn) as a halfback with coach Vince Lombardi’s Packers, earning the league’s Most Valuable Player trophy in 1961. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
The Packers later released a statement from team president/CEO Mark Murphy.
“The Green Bay Packers Family today is mourning the loss of Paul Hornung,” Murphy said. “Paul was one of our special alumni whose mere presence in Lambeau Field electrified the crowd during his returns. His performances in big games were unparalleled and over time were appreciated by generations of Packers fans. He played a key role in four of Vince Lombardi’s championship teams of the 1960s.
“With Paul’s passing, we are deeply saddened that we continue to lose our greats from the Lombardi era, a run of unprecedented success in the National Football League. We extend our deepest condolences to Paul’s wife, Angela, and his family and friends.”
One of the most versatile players in the history of the league, Hornung rushed for 3,711 yards and 50 touchdowns, caught 130 passes for 1,480 yards and 12 touchdowns, and passed for 383 yards and five scores in 104 games with the Packers. He also converted 52 of 66 field goals and 190 of 194 extra-point attempts.
“We are deeply saddened by the passing of Green Bay Packers’ legend Paul Hornung who thrilled a generation of NFL fans with his versatility, athleticism and personality that made him a favorite of legendary coach Vince Lombardi,” said NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “Paul was a leader of Green Bay’s dynasty in the 1960s and instrumental in growing the popularity of the Packers and the National Football League.”
Hornung missed the 1963 NFL season while serving a league suspension for gambling.
Born and raised in Louisville, Hornung burst onto the national scene as a two-time All-American at Notre Dame. He won the Heisman in 1956 — despite the Fighting Irish’s 2-8 record — by passing for 917 yards and rushing for 420.
Presented annually since 2010, the Paul Hornung Award recognizes the most versatile player in college football. Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. was honored in 2019.
Hornung is survived by his wife of 41 years, Angela.
–Field Level Media