EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -Johnny Perkins, who caught 163 passes in a seven-year NFL career spent entirely with the New York Giants, died of complications following heart surgery. He was 54.
The Giants said Perkins died Wednesday at Lifecare Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.
A second-round draft pick in 1977, Perkins played in 71 games and had 2,611 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns. Perkins retired after the 1983 season.
``Johnny played during an era when the Giants weren't a great team, but he was a great teammate,'' said Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson, whose Giants' career included all seven of Perkins' seasons. ``He was a part of a group of guys that started to turn it around for the franchise. I don't remember specific games or plays of Johnny's, but I do remember that he was a really good guy.''
Perkins' best season was 1981, the year the Giants ended an 18-year postseason drought, when he led the team with career-high totals of 51 catches for 858 yards and six touchdowns.
Perkins caught 20 passes as a rookie and 32 in 1978, but was slowed by hamstring injuries the following two seasons. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, he caught 26 passes.
Born in Franklin, Texas, he was a three-sport star at Granbury High School. Perkins played at Ranger Junior College before transferring to Abilene Christian, where he lettered in football and track.
Perkins is survived by his wife, Debra; a daughter, Jia; and sons Jasmin and Johnny.
A funeral will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Granbury Church of Christ. Burial will be at Holly Hills Memorial Park.
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