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"Football is my life. I’ve given it everything I’ve had and I’ll continue to do so as long as I can do the job."
(Compton Junior College)...6'0'', 200...Fletcher Joseph Perry. . . Spotted playing service football by pro scouts. . .Signed as free agent by 49ers. . . Extremely quick runner who earned nickname "The Jet". . . First to gain over 1,000 yards two straight years, 1953-1954. . .Career record: 12,532 combined net yards, 9,723 yards rushing, 260 receptions, 513 points. . . Played in three Pro Bowls. . .Born January 22, 1927, in Stevens, Arkansas. . . Died April 25, 2011 at the age of 84.
Joe Perry put Compton Junior College on the football map when he scored 22 touchdowns in one season. However, before he completed his college football career, he was called into military service. He was playing football for the Alameda, California Naval Training Station team when spotted by a player from the San Francisco 49ers of the new All-America Football Conference. The player reported his find to the 49ers’ hierarchy who offered Joe a contract. Upon his discharge from the military in 1948, Perry accepted their proposal.
Although he had great speed, Perry was basically a straight-ahead runner when he turned pro. But as in everything he did on a football field, Joe quickly adjusted and promptly emerged as one of the premiere runners in the young league. His superior speed earned him the nickname “The Jet” during his second season.
In 1950, the 49ers and their star running back joined the National Football League. Perry, at 6-0 and 200 pounds was small for an NFL fullback. Unlike the typical fullback of the day, his forte was not as an inside power runner. Instead, he combined his power with his quickness and deceptive elusiveness to slash through opposing defenses.
It was an awesomely effective style, as he became the first player in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, a feat he accomplished in 1953 and 1954. A veteran of three Pro Bowls, Perry was All-AAFC in 1949 and All-NFL in 1953 and 1954.
"The Jet" played 13 seasons with the 49ers before being traded to the Baltimore Colts in 1961. After two seasons with the Colts he returned to San Francisco for one final season. In 16 seasons of outstanding play, Joe Perry amassed a total of 9,723 rushing yards and averaged an amazing 4.9 yards per carry.
1949 AAFC - Cleveland Browns 21, San Francisco 49ers 7
Perry played in this game. No other statisical data available.
All-AAFC: 1949 (UPI, NY, OA)
All-NFL: 1953 (AP, UPI, NY), 1954 (AP, UPI, SN, NY)
All-Pro Second Team: 1949 (AP)
All Western Conference: 1954 (PB), 1958 (SN)
(3) – 1953, 1954, 1955
(At the time of his retirement following the 1963 NFL season)
[2nd] Most Attempts Rushing, Career – 1,737 (1950-1963)
[2nd] Most Yards Rushing, Career – 8,378 (1950-1963)
[2nd] Highest Average Gain Rushing, Career – 4.82 (1950-1963)
[2nd] Most Attempts Career, Combined Net Yards – 2,008
[Tied for 2nd] Most Consecutive Games, Rushing Touchdown - 7
[Tied for 3rd] Most Consecutive Seasons Leading League, Rushing – 2 (1953-54)
49ers' records held by Perry at the time of his retirement following the 1963 NFL season
[1st] Most Attempts Rushing, Career – 1,667 (1948-1960, 1963)
[1st] Most Yards Rushing, Career – 8,689 (1948-1960, 1963)
[1st] Most Yards Rushing, Season – 1,049 (1954)
[1st] Most Yards Rushing, Game – 174 (vs. Detroit Lions, Nov. 02, 1958)
[1st] Highest Average Gain Rushing, Game 10-15 Attempts – 13.23 (vs. Detroit Lions, Nov. 02, 1958)
[1st] Highest Average Gain Rushing, Game 16-20 Attempts – 9.69 (vs. Cleveland Browns, Oct. 09, 1949)
[1st] Most Touchdowns, Career – 80 (1948-1960, 1964)
[2nd] Most Touchdowns, Season – 13 (1953)
[2nd] Highest Average Gain Rushing, Game 16-20 Attempts – 9.56 (at Green Bay Packers, Nov. 20, 1955)
[2nd] Highest Average Gain Rushing, Career – 5.21 (1948-1960, 1963)
League Statistical Championships
Rushing Titles: 1949A, 1953, 1954
Team Statistical Championships
Rushing Titles: 1949A, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1958, 1961Balt
Kickoff Return Titles: 1949A
A All America Football Conference
• 1950s All-Decade Team
• 1954 NFL Player of the Year (UPI)
Full Name: Fletcher Joseph Perry
Birthdate: January 27, 1927
Birthplace: Stevens, Arkansas
Died: April 25, 2011 in Chandler, Arizona
High School: David Starr Jordan (Los Angeles, CA)
Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame: September 13, 1969
Presenter: Josephine Morabito, Co-Owner, 49ers
Other Members of the Class of 1969: Albert Glen "Turk" Edwards, Earle "Greasy" Neale, Leo Nomellini, Ernie Stautner
Pro Career: 16 seasons, 181 games
Drafted: Signed as free agent in 1948 by San Francisco 49ers
Uniform Number: #34 and #74 with San Francisco 49ers, #34 with Baltimore Colts
Josephine Morbito (presenter):
I should like also to thank the people of Canton for your superb hospitality. It has truly been a football weekend to remember.
Like so many who have become great in a particular endeavor, Joe Perry might well have been outstanding in a completely unrelated field, had Had not World War II and the guiding hand of fate changed the circumstances that were to lead to the gridiron immortality. His first love was music and his chosen profession was to be engineering. And his first athletic triumphs were in track and field. He also was a fine basketball, baseball player and really embraced with football only on the sly because his mother had vetoed the sport because of the dangers that were involved. Once she had seen him play, she relented and became one of his staunchest fans.
Joe played at Compton Jr. College before entering the United States Navy. It was there that he was discovered by one of the 49er players, a John Woudenberg, tackle in the early years of '46 and '47. He quickly told the front office of course of his find.
There was a great deal of speculation as to whether a boy who had not played college ball would be good. But it did not take very long before we realized that that was not necessary at all; he showed very soon after putting on his San Francisco uniform. Joe became known as "The Jet" and he played pro football 16 seasons, 14 of them with the 49ers. The highlights of the most impressive statistical record is the fact that he gained 9,723 yards rushing, more than any other player, but one.
Now, Joe continues to serve as assistant coach and we in San Francisco are most proud of him, he deserves the best which he is receiving this weekend, for he never gave anything less than all of himself which was the best of all the years that he was with us.
Now generally you prepare for an occasion like this, well, I think I've been preparing for like five or six months. Each time I would write something, I would tear it up.
I think on an occasion like this it can only come from the heart. My only regret is that two people, my mother and Tony Morabito are not here to accept this for me today.