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NY Jets: Looking back on the career of Pete Lammons

NY Jets, Pete Lammons
NY Jets, Pete Lammons / Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
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The NY Jets have had many outstanding tight ends in their franchise history.

Richard Caster and Jerome Barkum held down the position from 1970 to 1983. Perhaps the greatest tight end in Jets history, Mickey Shuler, locked it down throughout the entire decade of the '80s.

More recently, Dustin Keller manned the position for five years from 2008 to 2012 and currently, Chris Herndon is preparing for his fourth season with the Jets and will look to reach his full potential.

Long before any of these guys ever made their mark in the NFL, Pete Lammons excelled for the green and white and was the first outstanding tight end in franchise history. Lammons' had a relatively short but solid career for the Jets.

Pete Lammons left his mark on the NY Jets franchise

Pete Lammons was born in Crockett, Texas, and quickly established himself as an excellent all-around athlete for Jacksonville High School in Texas. Lammons played briefly for future NFL head coach Bum Phillips during his tenure at Jacksonville High School.

In addition to being an outstanding football player, Lammons was also a standout baseball player and his abilities drew the interest of pro scouts.

Lammons was undecided in which direction to take his athletic career until he was recruited to play football by head coach Darrell Royal at the University of Texas.

Lammons played for the Longhorns from 1963 to 1965 and he made an immediate impact on the team. In his first season, Lammons caught seven passes for 97 yards and helped lead Texas to an 11-0 record and their first National Championship.

In 1964, Lammons was the leading receiver for Texas as he hauled in 13 passes for 204 yards. In the 1965 Orange Bowl, Lammons had perhaps the best game of his career as Texas defeated Alabama and Joe Namath 21-17.

Playing both tight end and linebacker, Lammons caught two passes, recovered a fumble, and intercepted a Joe Namath pass. Lammons called it "the best game of [his] life, a career day."

Little did he know at the time that Namath would soon become his teammate and a friend.

Lammons would go on to earn Consensus First-Team All-Southwest Conference honors. In an era and on a team that emphasized running the football, Lammons still closed out his college career with 47 receptions for 706 yards and five touchdowns.

In 2002, he was inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honor.

In 1966, Lammons was selected in the 14th round of the NFL Draft by the Cleveland Browns and also in the eighth round of the AFL Draft by the NY Jets.

He chose to go with the upstart AFL which was starting to gain recognition as many college players were opting for the chance to be part of something new.

Lammons played six seasons for the Jets and was a model of consistency. He started 83 out of a possible 84 regular-season games, many of which he often battled through injury.

At a time when a tight end was expected to block, catch passes, and be on the field for every down, Lammons was a true warrior. He was a vital part of the success of the running game and also became a favorite passing target for Namath.

From a statistical standpoint, Lammons' first two years with the Jets were his best. In 1966, he caught 41 passes for a career-high 565 yards. The following year, he caught a career-best 45 passes for 515 yards and was selected to the AFL All-Star team.

For his career, Lammons hauled in 185 passes for 2,364 with an average of 12.8 yards per catch. He also scored 14 touchdowns.

Lammons caught at least 25 passes for at least 300 yards in five of his six seasons with the Jets. Again, very respectable numbers for that period of time.

Lammons played in three postseason games with the Jets including the Super Bowl. In the 1968 AFL Championship Game against the Oakland Raiders, he caught four passes for 52 yards and scored a touchdown, helping lead the Jets to a 27-23 victory.

In the Jets' famed 1969 Super Bowl victory over the Baltimore Colts, Lammons caught two passes for 13 yards including a key 11-yard reception that set up a Jim Turner field goal.

Former Jets legendary coach, Weeb Ewbank once called Lammons, George Sauer Jr., and Don Maynard "the finest trio of receivers in pro ball to throw to."

Lammons also set a Jets franchise record for yards per catch average in a game with an average of 41 yards on three receptions against the San Diego Chargers in 1966. That record has since been broken by both Wesley Walker and Robbie Anderson.

Pete Lammons finished up his football career by playing one final season with the Green Bay Packers in 1972. After his football career was over he spent two decades breeding and training racehorses.

Lammons partnered with his former Texas and Jets' teammate, Jim Hudson, in a very successful thoroughbred business.

In addition, Lammons competed in over 50 Major League Fishing tournaments in the years since his retirement. Tragically, Pete Lammons passed away on April 27, 2021, during a boating accident at a fishing tournament in East Texas. He was 77 years old at the time.

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Pete Lammons is remembered by family and friends as a caring and compassionate man who loved to entertain people with stories from his football past.

For Jets fans, he will always be remembered as a mainstay on a Super Bowl-winning offensive unit.

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