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Abe Woodson, legendary kick returner, dies at 79


Abe Woodson, one of the greatest kick returners in football history, has died at the age of 79.

A five-time Pro Bowler for the San Francisco 49ers, Woodson led the NFL in kickoff return average in 1959, 1962 and 1963, and led the league in punt return average in 1960. Woodson was also a starting cornerback for the 49ers, and played some running back as well. At the time of his retirement in 1966, he was the NFL’s all-time leader in kickoff return yardage.

Woodson grew up in Chicago and played his college football at Illinois, where he also ran track. The 49ers took him in the second round of the 1957 NFL draft.

Woodson died in Las Vegas, where he had been working as a prison minister.