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Johnny “Lam” Jones (1958–2019), track star played in NFL

by Kirk Fox

Johnny “Lam” Jones won an Olympic gold medal in the 4×100 relay at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. A star wide receiver at the University of Texas, he went on to play in the NFL for the New York Jets. Jones was a legendary athlete in Texas, a star sprinter who set records in high school and college, winning a gold medal at the age of 18. He was drafted in the first round by the Jets in 1980 but never lived up to expectations, becoming known for dropping passes. He admitted to drug and alcohol issues but later turned his life around.

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Died: Friday, March 15, 2019 (Who else died on March 15?)

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Details of death: Died at the age of 60 from cancer.


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How he got his nickname: At the University of Texas, Jones shared the backfield with another Johnny Jones. Texas head coach Darrell Royal named him “Lam” Jones and the other Johnny became “Ham” Jones to distinguish the two players.

What they said about him: “I first met Johnny Lam Jones in HS & we became good friends. We were in the same recruiting class as a WR & DB-roommates when we arrived at UT. When it came to grace & speed in Football & T&F, there was only one Lam Jones. There will never be another one! Rest In Peace my friend!” —Texas teammate Johnnie Johnson on Twitter

Full obituary: New York Times

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