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Aaron Jones: An NFL Feel-Good Story

Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones is an army brat. His father is an army veteran and mother until recently was an active-duty member of the military.

Due to his parents’ military careers, by the time he was a teenager Jones had lived in Georgia, Germany, Tennessee (twice) and Virginia (twice).

Jones’ high school coach Marcus Graham recollects: “He was overlooked in the college recruiting game. I sent video to everyone in the country. I called all the coaches I knew. He’s a real Cinderella story… You could see he was something special by his freshman, sophomore year. He was always tremendously competitive… There are a lot of guys walking around the same size, but they didn’t have the fortitude.”

In college, Jones was a kinesiology major: the study of the mechanics of body movements (I looked it up).

Jones has both dreadlocks and a beard (but just around the chin). Though still only 22, his hairline is rapidly receding.

He was named team captain in his junior year at UTEP.

There’s two of him. Aaron’s twin brother Alvin was a defensive star on his high school and college teams. Alvin led UTEP in tackles for the past two years, and he’s doing it again: 71 tackles, and two sacks, through eight games of his final college season. Maybe the Packers should check Alvin out prior to the 2018 draft.

Just after Christmas last year, Jones declared for the 2017 NFL draft; though he had played four years, due to injuries he still had a year of college eligibility left. He and his fans broke down in tears at the press conference. Afterwards, he prayed with his father and pastor.

Most players in Jones’ position are encouraged to stay in college for a final year unless they are projected as a first- or second-round draft choices. Jones was not, but he was influenced by his head coach’s experiences. UTEP coach Sean Kugler knows how short one’s pro career can be. Kugler went undrafted as an offensive lineman, but was signed by the Steelers, got concussed in training camp and never played in a pro game.

Coach Kugler, who went on to be an assistant coach in high school, college and for 11 seasons in the NFL, said of Aaron last week: “He’s a class act as a human being… everything they (Aaron and his brother Alvin) do is for the team.”

Aaron’s middle name is LaRae.

Jones has already developed a friendship with fellow rookie running back Jamaal Williams. They were introduced to each other at the Super Bowl and now room together in Green Bay. They are also both represented by agent Leigh Steinberg.

Before the Saints game, Jones’ father was telling people Aaron was going to have a good game. When asked how he knew, he said it was because his twin brother was attending the game.

Jones doesn’t forget his roots. Did you see him gesturing after his last touchdown against the Saints? He was forming the numbers 9-1-5, El Paso’s area code. The part of the country that calls itself “the Borderland” stands behind Aaron and vice versa.

Jones is already getting honors as a pro. He was named NFL rookie of the week after both week 5 and week 7. On October 26, the NFL also announced that he was named the FedEx ground player of the week for his efforts against the New Orleans Saints.

 

After going 4-8 in 2016, UTEP is 0-8 this year without Jones.

Aaron’s Bye-Week Break

He’s a homie – went straight back to El Paso when given the week off. First Jones spent time with his former UTEP teammates during their Wednesday practice, then he went with his brother to visit children at an area hospital.

When visiting patients at Las Palmas Medical Center, Aaron explained to the media: “I know kids here are kind of down so I’m just here to lift up their spirits, encourage them and let them know everything is going to be OK and I’m here to help any way I can.”

Against U of Texas at San Antonio last weekend, the Miners passed out 1,000 Aaron Jones bobbleheads.

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Rob Born

Due to Aaron Rodgers’ reckless ways, I’m officially launching the Campaign for GM Gutekunst to Acquire the Best Available (Veteran) Backup Quarterback – NOW.

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2 Comments

  1. PF4L October 30, 2017

    Nice write up Rob. Seems like a good humble kid who was brought up right. I highly doubt we see him kneeling or sitting before a game.

    1. Jeff October 31, 2017

      @PF4L – You sound like one of those people who thinks people sitting or kneeling before a game/during the anthem is to disrespect the country in some way instead of as a protest to racial injustice. I say this as a Veteran of the US Army who has no issue with people sitting/kneeling for the anthem, because I know why they’re doing it, and it isn’t because they’re trying to disrespect the flag or the country.