On Wednesday former Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Colts wide receiver Jimmy Orr died at the age of 85. His death has been confirmed by Edo Smith and Sons Funeral Home in Brunswick, Georgia, this according to ESPN.
Orr entered the NFL as a 25th-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Rams in 1957, a year in which the Rams selected 35 players in the 30-round draft.
Jimmy Orr’s Career with the Steelers, Colts
The University of Georgia product caught on with Pittsburgh the next year and played three seasons for the Steelers (1958-1960), posting eye-popping numbers all the while.
In his rookie campaign he caught 33 passes for 910 yards and seven touchdowns, an average of 27.6 yards per reception. That was good enough to earn him NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors and claim the franchise record for most receiving yards by a Steelers rookie, a record that wasn’t broken until 2017 when JuJu Smith-Schuster had 917 yards. Orr also served as Pittsburgh’s punter in 1958, averaging 39.7 yards per kick on 51 punts with a long of 62 yards.
In 1959, he earned Pro Bowl honors with the Steelers, catching 35 passes in 11 starts with five touchdowns. He also punted eight times that season for an average of 37.8 yards per kick.
During the course of his time in Pittsburgh he caught a total of 97 passes for 2,055 yards (21.2 yards per reception) with 16 receiving touchdowns. He also had 14 rushes for 108 yards, an average of 7.7 yards per carry.
In 1961 Orr joined the Colts and spent 10 seasons in Baltimore, starting 91 of 113 games and catching 303 passes for 5,859 yards (19.3 yards per reception) and 50 touchdowns. His best NFL seasons came in 1962 (55 catches, 974 yards, 11 touchdowns) and 1965, when he went to the Pro Bowl on the strength of a 45-catch campaign in which he gained 847 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
He spent so much time in the corner of the south end zone at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium that it became known as “Orr’s Corner,” as noted by Jim Irsay, owner of the Indianapolis Colts.
Failed Flea Flicker in Super Bowl III
But Orr is arguably best remembered for a trick play in Super Bowl III against the New York Jets, a play that went awry through no fault of his own.
With the Colts in Jets territory, Colts quarterback Earl Morrall called a flea flicker and Orr found himself uncovered as he approached the end zone. Orr waved his arms, hoping to attract his quarterback’s attention, but Morrall never saw him. Instead Morrall threw into tight coverage in the middle of the field and the pass was intercepted, a critical turning point in a game the Colts would lose 16-7.
Orr would go on to get a Super Bowl ring two years later, as the Colts won Super Bowl V over the Dallas Cowboys in his last season in the league (1970).
At the University of Georgia, Orr led the Southeastern Conference in receiving twice (1955, 1957). He also punted for the Bulldogs and was named Academic All-SEC in 1957. Orr was a native of Seneca, South Carolina.
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