The 49ers will honor Hall-of-Fame running back John Henry Johnson this season with a football-shaped helmet decal with Johnson’s jersey number “35.” The decal will resemble the one the Niners will wear to honor Hall-of-Fame running back Joe Perry, who wore jersey number “34.”
Johnson and Perry, members of the “Million Dollar Backfield,” have both passed away during the offseason. Perry died in April at age 84. Johnson died earlier this month at 81.
“Just a few weeks ago I found myself reflecting fondly on my relationship with Joe Perry following his passing, and now I find myself doing the same in regards to John Henry Johnson,” said 49ers owner and co-chair John York in a statement. “… It seems only fitting that his jersey number will be placed alongside Joe Perry’s this season. Just as they once shared a backfield, they will now share a space on our players’ helmets.”
Johnson, who spent three of his 13 NFL seasons in San Francisco, rushed for 6,803 yards and 48 touchdowns. He had two 1,000-yard seasons, both with the Steelers (1962 and 1964). He retired in 1966 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987.
• I apologize for allowing mold to form on the blog recently.
My excuse? I’m immersed in advance work for this week’s NASCAR race in Sonoma, which I’ll cover Sunday with esteemed colleagues Phil Barber and Bob Padecky. On Thursday, I’m covering the NBA draft from Warriors’ headquarters in Oakland (anyone know Jimmer Fredette’s time in the three-cone drill?)
The end is in sight, however. The Sacramento Bee has reported the 49ers will hold another four-day minicamp next week. I’ll start acting like a 49ers beat writer again then.