March 01, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) John Johnson, an athletic trainer in the New York Giants organization for 60 years, has died. He was 98.

The Giants said that Johnson died on Sunday.

Johnson retired following their victory in the Super Bowl in January 2008.

''Johnny Johnson was one of the finest men I have ever known,'' said John Mara, Giants president and chief executive officer. ''He spent 60 years with our team caring for players from Charlie Conerly and Frank Gifford, right on up to Eli Manning. Nobody was more loved and respected than Mr. J.''

Johnson became the head trainer at Manhattan College in 1947 and started working with the Giants the following season at training camp.

Johnson was on the Giants' staff for 874 regular-season and 34 postseason games. He worked for 12 head coaches, beginning with Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Owen and ending with Tom Coughlin. When he started in '48, the Giants had a quarterback from Ole Miss in Conerly. Fifty-nine years later, Johnson went out a champion thanks to a touchdown pass thrown by Manning, another quarterback from Ole Miss. One of Johnson's many treasured possessions was a football signed by both of them.

He was a part of four championship teams, including three Super Bowl winners.

Johnson was predeceased by his wife, Esther. He is survived by his daughters, Jeanette Johnson and Laura Watson, and a brother, David Johnson.

A funeral service will be Saturday at 11 a.m. EST at the United Methodist Church in Demarest.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

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