Joe Perry San Francisco 49ers & Baltimore Colts
"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."
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.