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Pete Lammons, Jets’ Super Bowl III starting tight end, dies at 77

Pete Lammons, the starting tight end on the Jets team that won Super Bowl III, died on Thursday in a fishing accident. He was 77.

Lammons had been competing in the MLF Toyota Series fishing tournament at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir near Brookeland, Tex., when he slipped off his boat and drowned, according to a statement released by Major League Fishing. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department found Lammons’ body Thursday afternoon. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

Lammons’ nephew, Lance, said the former football player — who also won a title with the Texas Longhorns — was participating in the MLF event for the 57th time and recently had stent procedures and was weak. Lance said his uncle tripped while making his way from the dock, hit the boat and fell into the lake.

“Pete’s girlfriend tried to talk him out of fishing for health reasons,” Lance Lammons told the Jacksonville Progress on Friday.

Lammons was a born and bred Texas man who carried that pride with him to New York in the 1960s. He was originally from Jacksonville, Tex., and played for the University of Texas. He helped the Longhorns to an Orange Bowl win over Alabama in 1965, then was drafted by the Jets the following year, in the eighth round of the 1966 AFL Draft. In 1970, he moved to Houston, where he had been living since the tail end of his playing career.

“Pete wanted Jacksonville to have his Super Bowl ring and his National Championship ring from the University of Texas,” Lance told the Jets when discussing a conversation he had with his uncle regarding the continuation of a scholarship in his name at his hometown high school. “And I am sure there will be some other memorabilia that the school will be interested in having for display.”

Lammons made his first all-star team in 1967 after logging 515 yards and two touchdowns that season.

The biggest achievement of his football career was winning the Super Bowl with the Jets’ 1968-69 team along with Joe Namath, who famously guaranteed victory over the heavily favored Baltimore Colts.

But Lammons, in an interview with the Houston Chronicle in 2019, detailed that the day before Namath made his national guarantee, he was in Namath’s ear about how he thought the Jets would win.

“Coach, if we keep watching these films, we’re gonna get overconfident,” Lammons recalled telling former Jets offensive coordinator Clive Rush the Tuesday before the game. Lammons shared that same piece of advice with Namath, who while poolside the next day said he guaranteed they would win — a statement that at the time infuriated the Colts and caught his other Jets teammates by surprise.

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“Quarterbacks,” Lammons said. “They get all the credit. … But I did say it. It may have been the smartest thing I ever said.”

Lammons contributed four catches for 52 yards and one touchdown in the Jets’ AFL Championship win over the Oakland Raiders, then finished with two catches for 13 yards in the 16-7 Super Bowl stunner.

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“I’m surprised that people still remember,” Lammons told the Chronicle. “We’re all getting kind of long in the tooth. But I’m still here. The wheel hasn’t gotten me yet.”

Lammons finished his career with 185 catches for 2,364 yards with 14 touchdowns in six seasons with Gang Green and then one with the Green Bay Packers.

His post-NFL career took him into real estate and thoroughbred horses and a passion for competitive fishing.

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