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Former San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jimmy Johnson, one of the NFL's best defensive backs in the 1960s, died Wednesday evening at age 86 -- the Pro Football Hall of Fame announced. Johnson was inducted into the Hall in 1994 after 16 seasons with San Francisco, earning three First Team All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowl selections.

"Jimmy Johnson was extraordinarily athletically talented. The 49ers enjoyed the luxury of using him on offense and defense early in his career to fill team needs," Pro Football Hall of Fame President Jim Porter said in a press release. "Once he settled in at left cornerback, he flourished. The notion that a 'lockdown' cornerback could cut the field in half for the opposition was true with Jimmy.

"Only rarely would other teams' quarterbacks even look his direction, and more often than not regretted the decision if they challenged him."

The brother of former Olympic decathlon champion Rafer Johnson, Jimmy Johnson was selected by the 49ers in the first round of the 1961 NFL Draft. He started 205 games with the 49ers and recorded 47 interceptions, second only in franchise history to Ronnie Lott. His 213 games played with the 49ers trail only Jerry Rice (238). 

The 49ers also issued a statement Thursday:

"The 49ers family is deeply saddened by the passing of one of the NFL's all-time greats, Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy embodied the essence of what it meant to be a 49er. He was the ultimate gentleman and will be remembered for his humility, kindness and loveable demeanor. We send our condolences to his wife Gisela and his entire family at this difficult time."  

One of the greatest players in 49ers' history, Johnson was among the original shutdown cornerbacks. Former 49ers quarterback John Brodie revealed veteran quarterbacks didn't throw Johnson's way because of the fear of being intercepted. 

"Jim doesn't receive much publicity because the opposition avoids him as much as possible," Brodie said back when they were teammates, via the Pro Football Hall of Fame website. "Talk to veteran quarterbacks like John Unitas and Bart Starr and they'll tell you they call few pass patterns in Jimmy's area. 

"The only reason Johnson doesn't lead the league in interceptions is he doesn't get the chance."

Originally drafted as a two-way player, Johnson moved to defense full time in 1964. He had 34 catches for 627 yards and four touchdowns in 1962, including an 80-yard touchdown reception against the Chicago Bears and a 181-yard performance against the Detroit Lions in that season. 

Johnson was an All-Pro for four consecutive years and was a member of the All-Decade Team of the 1970s. The 49ers retired Johnson's jersey in 1977, the first season after he retired. Johnson was also a charter member of the San Francisco 49ers Hall of Fame, which debuted in 2009.