Former Olympic winner Johnny”Lam” Jones, a two-sport star at the University of Texas and the 2nd overall choice from the 1980 NFL draft with the ny Jets, died Friday morning after a lengthy fight with cancer, the institution announced. He was 60.
Jones is one of the most distinguished athletes at Texas history. He was a mythical sprinter in Lampasas (Texas) High School as well as at the age of 18, he won a gold medal at the 1976 Olympics as a member of the usa’ 4 x 100 relay group. He finished sixth in the 100 meters.
Texas Athletics recalls Johnny Lam Jones.
The Longhorns’ former football and track star passed away after a protracted battle with cancer.
— Texas Longhorns (@TexasLonghorns) March 15, 2019
He was record-setting sprinter in Texas, where he also played wide receiver and running back to the football team. He was also the team MVP in 1978 and a two dimensional All America.
He was given the nickname Lam predicated on his team to differentiate him out of Texas team mate Johnny”Ham” Jones who was from Hamlin, Texas.
The Jets fell so deeply in deep love with Lam Jones’ magnificent speed and exchanged two thirds selections (13th and 20th) to move him up.
His NFL career never lived up to expectations. Plagued by falls from his rookie season, Jones quickly became the target of criticism from fans and media. He continued just five years at the league — with the Jets — ending 138 receptions for 2,322 yards and 13 touchdowns. His very best season came in 1983, when he submitted 43 grabs, 734 yards and 4 touchdowns.
“I understand how they remember me in New York: I am the man they shook the draft selection ,” Jones said in a 2005 interview using the New York Daily News. “That is okay. I didn’t meet their expectations, but I didn’t meet my expectations, either.”
Jones told the Daily News he battled cocaine and alcohol addiction during and after his acting career. He confessed he”wasn’t ready for New York,” calling himself a small town child who listened into the trappings of celebrity. Back in 1988, surviving in Texas, he served a month in jail after pleading guilty to indecency with a child, a 12-year-old girl.
He later named the arrest a turning point in his own life, saying it prompted him to look for assist. Jones continued to become motivational speaker, sharing his own story using highschool athletes at Texas.
In his home state of Texas,” Jones is best remembered for his performance from the 1976 Class 3A highschool track and field championships in Memorial Stadium on the Texas campus. Running the anchor leg at the mile relay, Jones moved from seventh spot to first, an instant that eventually has been shrouded in Texas lore.