Photo courtesy of the Detroit Lions
RB Billy Sims, who is remembered famously four his high-stepping into the endzone, was the first overall pick in the 1980 NFL Draft after winning the Heisman Trophy as a junior (1978) at Oklahoma. He exploded onto the NFL scene to rush for 1,303 yards and 13 touchdowns as a rookie as he went on to earn NFL Rookie of the Year honors. Sims established a new Lions rookie running back rushing record that was later broken by Barry Sanders in 1989.
Behind Sims’ production in 1980, the Lions improved from 2-14 to 9-7 and finished second in the NFC Central. Sims led the Lions to two playoff appearances (1982 and 1983) and helped the Lions claim the 1983 NFC Central division title. Sims was a very creative, but strong runner who would move the pile. Sims played in three Pro Bowls (1981, 1982 and 1983) during his five NFL seasons.
He ranks second on Lions’ all-time rushing list with 5,106 yards with 1,131 attempts and 42 touchdowns. Also a receiving threat out of the backfield, he ended his career with 186 catches for 2,072 yards and 47 touchdowns.
A major knee injury in the 1984 season ended career abruptly. Sims still ranks second all-time in rushing on the team’s career rushing list with 5,106 yards and second in career rushing touchdowns with 42. Additionally, Sims is third all-time in team history with 47 total touchdowns (42 rushing and 5 receiving). Sims was the team’s offensive MVP in 1980, 1982 and 1983.
Sims' Career Lions' Stats