Paul Hornung dies at 85, sports world honors legend’s football legacy

NFL Hall of Famer Paul Hornung was on hand to place the first bet at the new sports book service at Horseshoe Casino on Thursday afternoon. He placed a bet on the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl. 9/12/19 Paulhornung Pearl 02

Paul Hornung, a Pro Football Hall of Famer with the Green Bay Packers and a Heisman Trophy winner with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, passed away on Friday at the age of 84.

The Louisville Sports Commission announced that one of the most iconic football players in the sport’s history, died after a prolonged battle with dementia.

Hornung was one of just three players to win the Heisman Trophy, be the No. 1 overall pick and elected into the Hall of Fame. He was the lone player in the history of college football to win the Heisman Trophy, while playing for a losing team.

Related: NFL world mourns Herb Adderley’s death

Raised in Louisville, Kentucky, Hornung emerged as a three-sport star in football, basketball and baseball. He turned down the chance to play for Bear Bryant, signing on to be a part of the Fighting Irish.

A two-time first-team All-American (1955, ’56), Hornung won the Heisman Trophy in 1956. During that season, he threw for 917 passing yards, compiled 420 rushing yards and scored nine total touchdowns in 10 games. After an incredible collegiate career, he was drafted by the Green Bay Packers with the No. 1 overall pick in the 1957 NFL Draft.

Hornung served as Green Bay’s halfback and kicker during his NFL career. A two-time Pro Bowl selection (1959, ’60) and twice named first-team All-Pro (1960, ’61), he won Super Bowl I and four NFL championships with the Packers. Hornung also won NFL MVP in 1961.

He was elected into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1985 and the Pro Football Hal of Fame in 1986. Due to his extraordinary versatility, the Paul Hornung Award was created in his honor in 2010.

Given to the player who performs at a high level and shows outstanding versatility for his team, Lynn Bowden Jr. won the award in 2019 for playing quarterback, receiver and returning kicks. Past winners include Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey, Odell Beckham Jr. and Rondale Moore.

Following Hornung’s death, the sports world came together to mourn and honor the unforgettable football legend.

Paul Hornung dies at 85: NFL, college football world honors his memory