At Long Last, Johnny Robinson Finds Home in Pro Football Hall of Fame

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Just less than 60 years after the Chiefs franchise drafted Johnny Robinson as one of their first selections in the augural AFL draft, the legendary safety finally received the news Saturday afternoon he waited so long to hear – he's a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

A member of Chiefs during their Super Bowl championship season in 1969, Robinson played a hard-hitting role in the defense that led the AFL allowing just 12.6 points per game that year. He's the sixth member of that Chiefs defense in the Hall, and the 10th member of the franchise during that season to earn enshrinement.

Chiefs Chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said in a statement he's thrilled another member of the team's dominant teams from the AFL in the 1960s earned a place in the Hall.

“Johnny was a part of the foundation of the Super Bowl IV championship team and one of the best defensive backs of his generation,” Hunt said “Our family and the entire Chiefs organization are delighted for Johnny and his family that, at long last, he will take his rightful place among the greatest to ever play the game, in Canton.”

Robinson enters the Hall of Fame as part of the 2019 class along with another former Chiefs legend, tight end Tony Gonzalez. Former Chiefs cornerback Ty Law also earned enshrinement. That makes 22 players, coaches and executives enshrined in Canton who spent at least part of their careers with the Chiefs organization. Robinson becomes the seventh player in the Hall who spent his entire career with the club.

The Dallas Texans selected Robinson as a halfback out of LSU with one of their first selections during the inaugural AFL draft held in 1959. He joins center Jim Otto and tackle Ron Mix as future Hall of Famers selected during the first AFL draft. The Detroit Lions selected Robinson with the No. 3 overall selection in the NFL draft, but he opted to sign with the AFL instead.

Robinson started his career playing flanker on offense, rushing 150 times for 658 yards and adding 77 receptions for 1,228 yards with 15 total touchdowns. He moved to safety during the 1962 season.

When the Texans relocated to Kansas City in 1963, Robinson blossomed into a star. He earned six AFL All-Star appearances, five first-team All-AFL recognition and a spot on the AFL All-Time team. In the first season after the NFL merger in 1970, Robinson led the league with a career-high 10 interceptions and earned both Pro Bowl and first-team All-Pro honors.

Robinson became the fifth player added to the team's Hall of Fame in 1974, but recognition from the Pro Football Hall of Fame took much longer. After his playing career concluded, Robinson returned to his home in Louisiana and became known for his support of children's causes. He founded Johnny Robinson's Boys Home in Monroe, Louisiana,

The success of the Chiefs during the 1960s left Robinson finding himself overlooked for many years during the Hall of Fame selection process. Defensive teammates Bobby Bell, Buck Buchanan, Curley Culp, Willie Lanier and Emmitt Thomas all earned enshrinement before Robinson. Quarterback Len Dawson, kicker Jan Stenerud, head coach Hank Stram and owner Lamar Hunt also earned spots in Canton before Robinson.

But a fan campaign spotlighting Robinson's career put him back in consideration. Robinson earned distinction as the year's senior finalists, putting him among the finalists for this year's class. An approval from 80 percent of the Hall of Fame voting committee was required to induct Robinson into the Hall.