College Football Hall of Famer Jon Arnett Dies at 85; 5-Time Pro Bowler for Rams

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2021

In this 1955 file photo, Jon Arnett of the University of Southern California, is shown in posed action in Los Angeles. Hall of Fame halfback Jon Arnett, one of University of Southern California's greatest running backs who then starred with the Los Angeles Rams, died on Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, of heart failure in Lake Oswego, Ore. He was 85. (AP Photo/File)
Uncredited/Associated Press

USC standout and five-time Pro Bowler Jon Arnett died Saturday at the age of 85.

The Associated Press reported the news, noting USC said he died of heart failure.

Arnett first became a household name when he played for the Trojans from 1954 to 1956 as a dynamic running back who finished 10th in the 1956 Heisman Trophy voting. He was nicknamed "Jaguar Jon" for what the AP deemed his "acrobatic agility and elusiveness running the ball that he honed as a youth gymnast."

His efforts landed him in the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.

The Los Angeles Rams selected him with the No. 2 overall pick of the 1957 NFL draft, and he played his first seven professional seasons with the team before playing his last three for the Chicago Bears.

All five of his Pro Bowl appearances came during his time on the Rams, and he stood out for his receiving ability out of the backfield and impact as a returner on special teams in addition to the plays he made with his legs.

Arnett was named First Team All-Pro in 1958.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, as well as their three children, Matt, Kristen and Kimberly. He and Jane founded the Retired Professional Athlete Association in 2005 as a way of advocating for retired football players and their families.