John Brockington, a former All-Pro fullback and member of the Green Bay Packers' Hall of Fame, has passed away Friday at the age of 74.
Brockington earned All-Pro honors in 1971 while also winning Offensive Rookie of the Year after rushing for 1,105 yards and averaging 5.1 yards per carry. A Pro Bowler each of his first three seasons with the Packers, Brockington scored a career-high eight rushing touchdowns in 1972. Brockington ran for a career-high 1,144 yards in 1973. He finished his Packers career with over 5,000 rushing yards and 30 rushing touchdowns.
"The Packers family was saddened to hear about the passing of John," Packers president/CEO Mark Murphy said in a statement. "One of the great runners of his era, John was an exciting player to watch with his powerful running style. Fans enthusiastically welcomed John back to Lambeau Field over the years, fondly remembering the 1972 division championship as well as the bright spots he provided in the less-successful seasons.
"I enjoyed getting to know John during his return visits to Green Bay and greatly respected his work in support of organ donation through the John Brockington Foundation. He leaves a wonderful legacy.
"We extend our condolences to his wife, Diane, and his family and friends."
Brockington, who finished his NFL career with the Chiefs, enjoyed a standout career at Ohio State that led to him being the No. 9 overall pick in the 1971 NFL Draft. His 1,142 rushing yards and 17 rushing touchdowns during the 1970 season were both school records at the time. Brockington's success that season helped Ohio State record an undefeated regular season.
After college, Brockington then took his talents to Green Bay, where he became the first player in NFL history to start his career with three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He was inducted into the Packers' Hall of Fame in 1984.
"John Brockington was the toughest, hardest hitting running back that I knew," former Packers offensive lineman Bill Lueck said of Brockington. "We used to joke, 'Nobody wants to be the first guy to make contact with John Brockington.'
"He was a beast. Nobody wanted to tackle him. He'd run over the first guy. That was his game. But he was elusive also. That's what made him such a dangerous running back. He may run over you the first play, and the next play you're all tensed up and ready for this major collision, and he'd put a move on you. You never knew what was coming: A move or run over you."
John Brockington 1972#Packers pic.twitter.com/ZaIzHFBjJE— Old Time Football 🏈 (@Ol_TimeFootball) March 6, 2022
As Murphy alluded to in his statement, Brockington created his foundation after receiving a kidney transplant from his future wife, Diane. The foundation's mission is to "create a culture in which organ donation is commonplace; to provide financial and resource support for those donating, awaiting, and/or receiving organs; and to promote health education to minority communities who are disproportionately represented on the transplant waiting list."
NBA legend Shaquille O'Neal is one of several notable athletes who have served as champions for Brockington's foundation.
"Had I never been transplanted, this would have never happened," Brockington said about his foundation during a 2016 interview. "I'd never thought about it. I never knew about this kind of thing."