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NY Jets: Curly Johnson Dead At 80

Jets Super Bowl punter passes away.

AP/NFL Photos

Curly Johnson, Jets punter on the 1968 Super Bowl winning team, died at his home in Granbury, Texas Sunday.  Johnson's death came just one day after celebrating his 61st wedding anniversary with his wife, Janet. Johnson, who wore No. 33 most of his career, died at 3:33 p.m.

Johnson was drafted in 1957 by the NFL's Pittsburgh Steelers but did not play until 1960 with the AFL's Dallas Texans. He signed with the New York Titans in 1961 and played the next 8 years with the Titans/Jets, before finishing his career with the crosstown Giants in 1969.  Johnson was the punter on the Jets Super Bowl III winning team.

Johnson was a Pro Bowl punter for the Jets in 1965.  He set the Jets' single season record for punting average in that year at 45.3 yards per punt, a record which stood for 47 years until Robert Malone broke it in 2012. Johnson was a jack of many trades.  In addition to his punting, Johnson also occasionally played running back, tight end, and kick returner during his career.  Johnson  amassed 64 carries for 209 yards, 32 receptions for 370 yards, and 18 kick returns for 254 yards over the course of his career.

After his playing career ended Johnson remained an avid Jets fan.  In 1997 he wrote to owner Leon Hess, asking if he might do some scouting for the team. In the letter, Johnson wrote in part:

Coach Ewbank once told me you never get football out of your blood. I know now what he meant. I miss being part of the Jets and would love to do my part to help get us back to our Super Bowl days.

Rest in peace Curly Johnson.  The condolences of all of Gang Green Nation are with his family.