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Gary "Big Hands" Johnson dead at 57

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Johnny Lightning, Aug 4, 2010.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    [​IMG]


    By UNION-TRIBUNE
    Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 11:51 a.m.


    Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, a Chargers Hall of Famer and one of the most dominant defensive tackles in club history, died today, two weeks after suffering a stroke.

    Johnson, also a member of the College Football Hall of Fame after an outstanding career at Grambling, died at LSU Medical Center in Shreveport, La. He was 57.

    Johnson was the eighth player chosen in the 1975 draft and played for the Chargers from 1975-84 before finishing his career with San Francisco in 1984 and 1985.

    Johnson was voted an All-Pro in 1980 (when he had 17 1/2 sacks) and 1981 and was named to the Pro Bowl in four straight seasons (1979-82). The Chargers won the AFC West in three of those seasons and made the playoffs in all four.

    He was given the nickname “Big Hands” by a teacher in eighth grade when he went to pick up a basketball in P.E. class in Bossier City, La. The moniker stuck, and as Johnson said before he was inducted into the Breitbard Hall of Fame in 2007, “I can’t put my hands on a counter without people saying, ‘You’ve got big hands,’ 
     
  2. LV Bolt Fan

    LV Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    RIP, "Big Hands". :icon_sad:
     
  3. SDBoltzFan

    SDBoltzFan BoltTalker

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    I watched "Big Hands" as a kid. RIP...
     
  4. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    Kelcher and him where my favorite Chargers defenders of that era
     
  5. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    RIP Big Hands, thank you for the memories!
     
  6. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Sad news. RIP, big guy.
     
  7. MasterOfPuppets

    MasterOfPuppets Charger fan since 1979

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    I'm only 37, but you start feeling old when guys you cheered for start dying (Dio, Coryell, Gary, et)
     
  8. Kwak

    Kwak ....

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    Wow. Sad news today.

    R.I.P. "Big Hands" and condolences to his family.
     
  9. BoltFanDC

    BoltFanDC Mufflers Are Overrated

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    Sad day in Boltville. RIP Big Hands and condolences to the Johnson family. :icon_sad:
     
  10. HEXEDBOLT

    HEXEDBOLT Don't like it, lump it!!!

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    Big Hands, that funny voice you hear behind the pearly gates is Coach Coryell. Your late for a meeting and the fine is going to be plenty.

    My condolences to the Johnson family, may he RIP.
     
  11. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    I started feeling old some time ago! RIP Gary.
     
  12. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

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    I keep having this image of him kneeling down comparing his hands with a little kids hands .. I can't remember if it was an advertisement or something for the Chargers ..

    Anyway, RIP .. You will be missed.
     
  13. Alpenbolt

    Alpenbolt BoltTalker

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    Big Hands. Great player, real good person. RIP brother.
     
  14. megold0715

    megold0715 Well-Known Member

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    rest in peace big hands i remember as a kid watcing him dominate
     
  15. paddyirishman

    paddyirishman BoltTalker

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  16. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

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    Remembering “Big Hands”

    Posted 2 hours ago

    8-6-2010


    Chargers Hall of Fame member Gary “Big Hands” Johnson passed away Wednesday. He was 57.

    Gary “Big Hands” Johnson, a member of the Chargers Hall of Fame, passed away Wednesday in Shreveport, La., five days after he suffered a stroke.
    He was 57.
    San Diego drafted Johnson at No. 8 overall in 1975. He wasted little time emerging in the NFL, earning All-Rookie honors his first season. But fans had to wait five years for his masterpiece season. Johnson made 17.5 sacks that year, still a franchise record. He combined with a pair of players selected in the same draft, Fred Dean and Louie Kelcher, to help the Chargers lead the NFL with 60 sacks in 1980 and earned the nickname the Bruise Brothers.
    A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Johnson helped Head Coach Don Coryell and San Diego reach the playoffs four straight seasons from 1979 to 1982. He won a Super Bowl with the San Francisco 49ers after a trade in 1984. NFL.com lists his final playing size as 6-foot-2, 257 pounds.
    One of 34 members of the team’s Hall of Fame, inducted in 1999, Johnson also was voted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997 and the Breitbard Hall of Fame in 2007.
    He became Big Hands in eighth grade when he went to pick up a basketball during P.E. class and his instructor told him to get his big hands off the ball.
    What they said about Big Hands:

    Wes Chandler
    Wide Receiver, 1981 - 1987
    “We’ve lost a tremendous person. Hands was a great friend of mine. Not only was he a good person but a great teammate. I was proud to call him my friend. His personal demeanor with people is something I will always remember.”


    Ed White
    Offensive Lineman, 1978 - 1985
    “He was a great football player. Big Hands was big and aggressive. He played hard and practiced hard, and I really respected that.
    “When I think about Gary Johnson, I think about his kindness. When I remember him, I see his face. Johnson always had a smile from ear to ear. He was kind-spirited and warm-hearted, absolutely egoless. He will go down in my memory as that type of person. He was a great teammate.”


    Hank Bauer
    Running Back, 1977 - 1982
    “Johnson was always smiling. He really enjoyed football, and loved every part of it. He was a great teammate, a perfect father and a perfect husband, an amazing family man. And yet, when the ball was snapped he turned into an absolute monster.
    “For a guy that was as much of a star as he was, he was amazingly humble, a very simple person.
    “Louie Kelcher was the ring leader of the defense line, and Gary was like Louie’s little brother who he would beat up and harass, but all in a very good natured way. Gary was the guy we played jokes on. During training camp, I once put a snake in his helmet. You should have seen him jump. It’s one of my favorite moments. I haven’t owned up to it until now.”


    Dan Fouts
    Quarterback, 1973 - 1987
    “He was a special guy. I don’t really remember him as the player, I remember him as being a smart guy who was dedicated to his family and his job. Everybody that I came into contact with who knew Gary loved him, and that’s pretty universal.
    “It’s a terrible to shame. He was a friend and a great teammate.”
     
  17. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Anyone who was a fan during the Svare era knows exactly what the drafting of Kelcher, Big Hands, Dean, the trade for Ed White and the emergence of Fouts meant to us excessively matured folks. Big hands was a monster we hadn't seen since Ernie Ladd and Earl Faison. Johnson was the perfect companion for LOOOOOIIIIEEEEEE. The other guy's helmet could disappear under his hand.
     

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