Kansas football: Top five former Kansas Jayhawks in the NFL

Kansas football (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Kansas football (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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No. 4: Steven Sims Jr.: (2015-2018) WR/KR/PR, Pittsburgh Steelers

Steven Sims was one of the best wide receivers in KU’s history, so it is no surprise to see that he has carved out a sizable role with the Steelers.

He had 2,582 receiving yards as a Jayhawk, which ranks second on the school’s all-time list behind only Dezmon Briscoe. Sims went through some tough times with Kansas, as the team won just six games in the four years he spent there. Still, he stuck it out as a Jayhawk, which worked for him in the long run.

Sims led the team in receiving yards, receptions, and receiving touchdowns from 2016 to 2018, even with some questionable quarterback play. Sims put all he had on the field every single snap despite his small stature. His grittiness and speed were not enough for him to get drafted, but he performed great after signing a deal with the (currently named) Washington Commanders.

As a player on Washington, Sims caught 61 balls for 575 receiving yards in two seasons. He had seven total touchdowns, including a 91-yard kick return touchdown:

Unfortunately for Sims, this was not enough for him to maintain a roster spot with Washington. He spent all of 2021 on the practice squad of the Steelers, not playing a single snap for the team.

In 2022, Sims emerged as a key contributor for the Steelers on special teams. He was Head Coach Mike Tomlin’s main kick and punt returner, even seeing some time as the team’s slot receiver in the latter stages of the year. Even if Sims does not see time at receiver next season, he is an elite special teams player that will likely be coveted on the free agent market. These are his statistics from the 2022 regular season:

  • 14 receptions
  • 104 receiving yards
  • 0 receiving touchdowns
  • 13 carries
  • 70 rushing yards
  • 17 kick returns
  • 434 kick return yards
  • 19 punt returns
  • 105 punt return yards