Thu Jun 23 3:43pm ET
By The Associated Press
Hugh McElhenny is introduced before the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest ,Friday, May 2, 2014, at the International Exposition Center in Cleveland. NFL Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny, an elusive running back from the 1950s has died. He was 93. The Pro Football Hall of Fame said in a news release that McEhlenny died of natural causes on June 17 at his home in Nevada, and that son-in-law Chris Permann confirmed the death. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan, File)
NFL Hall of Famer Hugh McElhenny, an elusive running back from the 1950s has died. He was 93.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame said in a news release that McEhlenny died of natural causes on June 17 at his home in Nevada, and that son-in-law Chris Permann confirmed the death.
Elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1970, McElhenny's thrilling runs and all-around skills as a runner, receiver and kick returner made him one of the NFL's top players of the 1950s. He was the league's Rookie of the Year in 1952 (before the award became official) and made two All-Pro teams, six Pro Bowls and the NFL's All-Decade squad of the 1950s.
An all-conference player at Washington, where he set several Pacific Coast Conference records, McElhenny was selected ninth overall in the 1952 draft and made an immediate impact. Not only did he lead the run-happy NFL in yards per carry (7.0) that season, but McElhenny had the longest rush from scrimmage, 89 yards, and the longest punt return, 94 yards. He scored 10 touchdowns as a rookie.
It was the beginning of a stretch of nine seasons in which McElhenny was the 49ers' primary offensive weapon. Only in 1954, when a separated shoulder sidelined him after six games, and 1960, his final year in San Francisco, was McElhenny not a focal point for the Niners.
He also was something of a franchise savior, which was fitting because the 49ers once tried to sign him out of high school when they were still in the All-American Football Conference.
''When Hugh joined the 49ers in 1952,'' Lou Spadia, then the team's general manager, said, ''it was questionable whether our franchise could survive. McElhenny removed all doubts. That's why we call him our franchise saver.''
Defenders would call him something else as they got arms full of air instead of the ball carrier.
''My attitude carrying the ball was fear,'' he said. ''Not a fear of getting hurt, but a fear of getting caught from behind and taken down and embarrassing myself and my teammates.''
Easily recognizable for his long stride and high knee action, McElhenny not only was fast but had the moves of a break dancer decades before break dancing became a thing.
''Preparing for a team that lists McElhenny on the roster,'' said Hamp Pool, who coached the archrival Rams from 1952-54, ''you just can't take any chances.''
Coincidentally, his long-time 49ers backfield mate, fullback Joe Perry - another Hall of Famer - had played at Compton Junior College in California, where McElhenny starred before heading to Washington. Together in San Francisco, they formed one of pro football's best backfield tandems.
But the Niners made the postseason only once with McElhenny, losing a Western Conference title playoff game with Detroit in 1957. By 1961, with McElhenny wearing down a bit, he was left on the expansion draft list and scooped up by Minnesota. He had a solid season and made the Pro Bowl as the Vikings went 3-11 in their inaugural season.
Knee problems then slowed him. He played one more year with Minnesota, spent 1963 as a backup with the New York Giants, where he played in his only NFL title game, losing to Chicago, and finished his career in 1964 with Detroit.
When he retired, McElhenny was one of three players to have gained more than 11,000 all-purpose yards.
An MRI exam confirmed that Cleveland Browns center Dawson Deaton (knee) suffered a torn ACL in training camp practice on Monday, according to sources. It's a tough break for the Browns at an important position after starter Nick Harris (knee) went down the other day with a likely season-ending injury. Ethan Pocic, Brock Hoffman and Hjalte Froholdt are the remaining players at the position for Cleveland, with Pocic likely to be the starter heading into the 2022 regular season. Deaton, a rookie out of Texas Tech, will miss all of this year. It's more bad news for a Browns offense that continues to wait on a potential season-long suspension for quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Kansas City Chiefs running back Ronald Jones could fall off the 53-man roster, according to Nate Taylor of The Athletic. The former second round pick was expected to compete for a backup role during training camp. Jones managed only one rushing yard on four attempts during their preseason opener. It sounds like the 25-year-old is struggling and could fall off the depth chart completely. Isiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon should be on the rise after the first preseason matchup. Neither player is a great option, but are better late-round choices than Jones right now.
San Francisco 49ers defensive back Jimmie Ward (hamstring) is currently questionable to suit up for Week 1. Head coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned it was a bad hamstring injury, so the team will wait and see how Ward progresses over the next few weeks. The former first round pick has been a reliable option for the 49ers over the last three seasons. He struggled with injuries earlier in his career, but has been fantastic lately. The loss of Ward would be a significant hit to the 49ers defense. George Odum and Tarvarius Moore would likely be in line for more playing time, assuming Ward does miss time.
Dynasty | Falcons rookie running back Tyler Allgeier was listed as a riser in a recent camp report Dynasty Analysis: The rookie rushed for 25 yards on three carries in his first preseason action and also had a nice blitz pickup showing that he is picking up more than just yardage on the field. As noted in the attached link, the team is going to have a make a tough cut at some point at running back but Allgeier is certain to remain. He's still expected to play behind hybrid player Cordarrelle Patterson. He's listed as DLF's RB56 and is an intriguing second-round dynasty rookie draft selection.
Dynasty | Falcons running back Damien Williams was listed as a "faller" in a recent training camp report Dynasty Analysis: Williams only managed 10 yards on three carries in the team's first preseason game and it's likely too early to make any calls on his ability to stick on the roster. The team is going to have to make a tough cut or two at the position and it means Williams or Qadree Ollison could be the first to go. Given Ollison's better performance, Williams would seem to be more on the bubble. He's very sparsely ranked as DLF's RB79.
Dynasty | Vikings running back Kene Nwangwu was listed as a "riser" in a recent camp report Dynasty Analysis: Nwangwu looked decisive and agile in his first preseason action as he rushed for 41 yards on seven carries while converting both of his targets for 18 yards. Fellow backfield mate Ty Chandler rushed for more yardage and also looked strong but it was Nwangwu who looked more decisive and agile. With Dalvin Cook aging and Alexander Mattison a free agent in 2023, there's change on the horizon. Nwangwu, DLF's RB76, is a well valued dynasty stash for 2023 and beyond.
Free-agent defensive end Carl Nassib has decided to return to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The former third round pick has signed a one-year deal with the organization. The 29-year-old has spent each of the last two seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders. Although, his best seasons of his career were the two years he was in Tampa Bay. He recorded 63 tackles and 12.5 sacks through 29 games in two seasons with the Bucs. It's uncertain if Nassib can offer that same type of play, but it's worth the risk on a short term deal. This is a nice addition to the Bucs pass rushing group.
Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III (foot) returned to Monday's training camp practice and was wearing pads. Gordon had been dealing with a minor foot injury that kept him out since last week, but it looks like he's good to go. It remains to be seen if he'll suit up for the team's second preseason game this Saturday against the Buffalo Bills. The 29-year-old veteran was in a near-even timeshare with Javonte Williams in 2021, and although the new Denver coaching staff is expected to divvy up the backfield playing time again in 2022, Gordon should be viewed as more of the 1B to Williams' 1A this time around. Still, Gordon is worth a late-round pick as a handcuff for Williams or as an RB3/flex in deeper leagues.
Pittsburgh Steelers rookie running back Jaylen Warren saw some first-team repetitions at training camp practice on Monday with Benny Snell Jr. (knee) still out of action. Warren has flashed this summer and had six carries for 34 yards while catching four of his five targets for 30 yards and a touchdown in Saturday's preseason opener against the Seattle Seahawks. The undrafted 23-year-old led Pittsburgh in touches and is on track to make the roster heading into the regular season behind Najee Harris, Snell and Anthony McFarland Jr. Warren can be ignored in single-season fantasy formats, but he might be worth a late-round flier in deep dynasty/keeper leagues.
Dallas Cowboys S Jayron Kearse (back) will not participate in practice this week.
New England Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson was repping in James White's role with the starters at training camp practice on Monday during two-minute drills. White announced his retirement last week, but New England's backfield is still crowded with Damien Harris, Stevenson, rookie Pierre Strong Jr. and Ty Montgomery vying for playing time. Stevenson was impressive as a rookie, though, with 133 carries for 606 yards and five touchdowns, adding 14 receptions for 123 yards on 18 targets in 12 games (two starts). The 24-year-old should have a bigger role with White now out of the picture, and as things stand now, he's the best fantasy bet as an RB3/flex type behind Harris.
Kansas City Chiefs PK Harrison Butker (ankle) left practice early Monday, Aug. 15, because of ankle soreness. Head coach Andy Reid said Butker should be fine.
Buffalo Bills S Jordan Poyer (elbow) is not expected to play in the second preseason game but may have a chance to be on the field for the final preseason game, according to head coach Sean McDermott.
Denver Broncos RB Melvin Gordon III (foot) participated in practice Monday, Aug. 15.
Fantasy Spin: Gordon was sidelined for about a week because of the injury but should be fine moving forward. He will continue to share playing time with Javonte Williams and can be a flex option in most leagues.
Free-agent DE Carl Nassib (Raiders) agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Monday, Aug. 15, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have signed running back Patrick Laird to a one-year deal. The 26-year-old has spent each of the last three seasons with the Miami Dolphins. Laird hasn't done much each of the last two seasons, but did make an impact in 2019. On paper, Laird is a capable pass catcher who can also contribute in the running game as well. However, the Bucs have a fairly decent amount of depth right now. It's tough to imagine Laird making an impact unless a few injuries happen. At the moment, fantasy managers can avoid Laird in fantasy leagues.
Los Angeles Rams QB Matthew Stafford (elbow) was a full participate in practice Monday, Aug. 15, and will be a full participant again Tuesday, Aug. 15, according to head coach Sean McVay.
Fantasy Spin: Stafford has been limited during camp because of an elbow issue but it seems like he is making some progress. He played well last season and can be a low-end No. 1 quarterback in 2022 if he can stay healthy.
Baltimore Ravens RB Corey Clement and CB Robert Jackson were released Monday, Aug. 15.
Baltimore Ravens running back Corey Clement has been released by the organization. This doesn't come as a huge surprise considering the amount of depth that the Ravens have at running back. The 27-year-old rushed for 140 yards on 33 attempts through 17 games with the Dallas Cowboys last season. He'll look to catch on as a depth option elsewhere, but fantasy managers shouldn't expect Clement to be relevant anywhere else. The departure of Clement means more reps for players such as Justice Hill, Mike Davis, and Tyler Badie.
The New Orleans Saints have reached an agreement with free-agent linebacker Jon Bostic. The former second round pick has bounced around over his eight years in the NFL. Most recently, Bostic played in four games with the Washington Commanders last season. He has a few 100-tackle seasons under his belt, so this is a decent addition for New Orleans. The Saints could use some extra depth at linebacker, so Bostic does have a legitimate shot at making the final roster.