J.B. Simmons

John "J.B." Simmons was a three-sport athlete at Omaha Benson, before going on to star at Tulsa and in the Canadian Football League.

John “J.B.” Simmons set school receiving records at the University of Tulsa and played in the Canadian Football League.

The 1959 Omaha Benson graduate was 80 when he died Dec. 9 in Savannah, Georgia, of cancer discovered following a heart attack, said brother Grant Simmons of Denver.

A three-sport athlete at Benson, Simmons played at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M junior college in Miami, Oklahoma, before starring for Tulsa in 1962 and 1963. Simmons was all-conference both years. He caught 65 passes for 860 yards and nine touchdowns in 1962 — he was No. 2 in the nation in all three categories — and was headed toward those totals again in 1963 before breaking an arm with five games left.

He was drafted by Buffalo in the AFL and Green Bay in the NFL. He played eight games for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 1964, then caught a league-leading 16 touchdown passes in 1965 for the semipro Omaha Mustangs.

Survivors include wife Suzanne, two children and three stepchildren.