The Jets have lost another member of their Super Bowl family with news that Pete Lammons, the Jets' six-year tight end who caught a touchdown pass in the AFL Championship Game win over Oakland and started and caught a pair of passes from Joe Namath in the Super Bowl III triumph over Baltimore, drowned Thursday in a boating accident at the start of a fishing tournament in his home state of Texas.
Lammons, 77, was participating in a Major League Fishing Toyota Series tournament on Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Brookeland. His nephew, Lance Lammons, said on jacksonvilleprogress.com that Pete was fatigued from two stent surgeries he'd undergone in recent weeks. As he was about to board the boat, he tripped, hit the boat, fell into the lake and couldn't be saved. His body was recovered by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens using scan radar, MLF said in a statement.
Lammons was a professional angler who had arrived at the reservoir to compete in the 57th MLF tournament of his angling career, according to TV station KETK on its website.
Before fishing, of course, Lammons was a professional tight end. He came to the Jets from Jacksonville, TX (where he briefly played under Bum Phillips) and from the University of Texas as their eighth-round selection (No. 68 overall) in the 1966 American Football League Draft. The Cleveland Browns also picked him, in the 14th round (213th) of the NFL Draft, but he opted to go with the still-upstart AFL and put together a too short but solid career as the first outstanding TE in franchise history.
Lammons' six Jets seasons were all very much of a piece. He caught at least 25 passes for at least 300 yards and at least two touchdowns in each of those six campaigns, with his high reception total of 45 coming in his only AFL All-Star campaign of 1967 and his top yardage (565) and touchdown reception (4) figures assembled as a rookie in 1966.
The Super Bowl season wasn't far behind those years. Slowed by a leg injury earlier in 1968, the 6-3, 233-pounder finished with 32 regular-season catches for 400 yards and three TDs. In the regular-season "Heidi Game" loss at Oakland, he had six receptions for 95 yards. Then he had eight catches for 96 yards three weeks later in the win vs. Cincinnati.
He was another key pass-catcher in the title game at Shea Stadium against the Raiders, targeted by Namath 10 times in the game and catching four passes for 52 yards. Three went for first downs, two for third-down conversions and one for 20 yards and a 20-13 Jets lead late in the third quarter of their 27-23 triumph.
In the Super Bowl, Lammons had three targets and two catches for 13 yards. His long grab from Namath went for 11 yards to convert a third-and-6 en route to Jim Turner's second field goal of the game and a 13-0 lead over the Colts.
Head coach Weeb Ewbank liked to call wideouts Don Maynard and George Sauer plus Lammons "the finest trio of receivers in pro ball to throw to."
Lammons, who finished his playing career with 12 games and one catch for Green Bay in 1972, wound up with 185 regular-season receptions for 2,364 yards (12.8 yard/catch) and 14 TDs. In one of his three 100-yard receiving games, he set the franchise mark (since broken by Wesley Walker and tied by Robby Anderson) for most yards/catch in a game (minimum of three catches) when he averaged 41.0 yards on three catches at San Diego in 1966.
He missed only one game and one start in 87 Jets games, including three playoff games, during his time in green and white.
"Weeb was an outstanding coach in that as long as you got accomplished what he wanted; he didn't care how you did it. He let you play," Lammons told Jim Gehman in a story that appeared on newyorkjets.com in 2019. "Coaches at that level certainly are helpful, but pretty soon the players have to adjust to things that maybe you didn't know before. Something might come up that you didn't anticipate.
"So it was always a learning process and Weeb was very helpful. He kept it pretty simple. It was blocking and tackling. If you do it you've got a better shot of winning and not making mistakes."
Lammons made it back to the 50th anniversary dinner at MetLife Stadium that the Jets held for the surviving members of the Super Bowl III team, and he was grateful.
"Just being around and seeing the guys one more time, unfortunately knowing that it's probably the last time we'll all get together," he said. "Everybody's getting a little long in the tooth, so to speak, and injuries and illnesses and what have you are taking the boys away. The Jets did a good job of having things for us. It was nice."
After football, Pete Lammons was in real estate and partnered with UT and Jets teammate Jim Hudson for two decades in the thoroughbred racing business.
"I did it all," Lammons said. "I bred them, I raised them, I raced them. Had a lot of fun. I don't know if I made any money, but we had fun."
Lance Lammons said he and his uncle, who resided most recently in Houston, had discussed the continuation of the Pete Lammons Scholarship awarded annually at Jacksonville HS.
"Pete wanted Jacksonville to have his Super Bowl ring and his National Championship ring from the University of Texas," Lance said. "And I am sure there will be some other memorabilia that the school will be interested in having for display."