Coming out of Bowling Green, Chris Jones probably wouldn’t have visualized the path that’s led him to Foxborough. He was on three NFL teams in a span of two weeks, and because of an injury-depleted defensive line, made a name as a rookie with the Patriots. When opportunity knocked, Jones made sure he was ready.
“As soon as I got here, I was put to work, I was working, and unfortunately we had guys go down and I had to come in and play. I had no time to be in awe. Being thrown right in kind of gave me that kick in the butt that I think I needed. I wasn’t down on myself, but I wanted to be able to prove myself, and that was a good way to prove that I could play,” Jones said. “I just want to be able to contribute. My goals are the team’s goals. I can work on a strength goal or a personal goal, but all of it means nothing if it doesn’t lead to a championship. That’s what I’m leaning toward.”
That hard working mentality is what really impresses me about Chris Jones. I remember working for the Raycom All Star Game, and making the selection of Chris as one of my last players approved for the game. Chris was a smaller defensive tackle but the kid had a motor that was non stop. At the Raycom All Star Game, Jones was everywhere wreaking havoc on quarterbacks, offensive lineman and the running backs. I knew the kid was special.
The Raycom really opened the door for Chris who talked to almost all 32 NFL teams at the game. One team that really fell in love with Chris was the Houston Texans. The Texans wanted to land Chris and they did just that when the draft came around. The Texans spent the 198th pick on Jones. Jones was in training camp ready to make and impact but the Texans felt differently. They eventually released Chris. Chris was immediately claimed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who would cut him a week later. This was perfect because the Patriots had an injury on their defensive line and claimed Chris Jones. The story has been amazing ever since. Jones finished the season with 6.0 sacks, which was 2nd amongst rookies and a huge penalty that would have given Tom Brady the ball around mid-field when he allegedly used his teammates to push off causing a penalty. This year, Chris is off to another good start racking up a 1.5 sacks and 15 combined tackles. His biggest play happened last night though when Jones blocked a Nick Folk kick to win the Patriots the game. His head coach was happy with his performance last night as well.
“Really happy for Chris at the end,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. “After what happened last year I think it was so fitting that he make that play.”
Congrats Chris, it looks like you finally found a home brother.