Life After Football: The Story of Jacoby Jones

Former All-Pro wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones answered a question football fans have long been curious about.

The question; Are there any hard feelings toward Mike Tomlin after he presumably tried to trip him on that kickoff return?

“No hard feelings,” Jones said to Prime Time Sports Talk about Tomlin. “I would have tried to trip me too.”

Credit: NBC

Jones’ journey to the NFL when his mother forced him into it at 6 years old.

“I was just running around as a bad kid,” Jones said. “My mom was like, ‘Put him in sports.'”

His mother was right as Jones showed from an early age what would be his defining characteristic. That is speed.

The New Orleans native played four sports; football, baseball, basketball, track all the way through junior high school. But out of all his talents, it was running that made him stand out.

“I ran track since I was 6 or 7 years old, “Jones said. “I made the Junior Olympics, won Nationals, broke national records, I was [also] a road runner.”

Jones was so fast that at one point in high school, he ran the 100 meters in 10.2 seconds, and the 200 meters in 21.3 seconds making him an All-Metropolitan and All-Area selection at Marion Abramson High School.

Though offered a track scholarship at Southern Louisiana University, Jones had his sights set on football.

“They told me I couldn’t play football at [Southern Louisiana University],” Jones said. “I was kind of tired of track and I really wanted to play football.”

Wanting an opportunity to stay on the gridiron, he transferred to Lane College, a Division II school in Jackson, Tennessee and walked on to the football team.

As a Dragon, Jones remained a Swiss army knife, helping his basketball team win a championship and feels that it helped him hone his footwork.

“I still played basketball and ran track at Lane College,” Jones said. “It was a lot of footwork, you gotta move your feet a lot in basketball going up in down the court and I was never out of shape playing basketball and going right to track.”

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Jones carries the ball during his time playing at Lane College. Photo: Katie Brake/Jackson Sun

Jones after being considered too small to play football by his first high school St. Augustine, was drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. Surrounded by family, his college teammates and head coach, Jones maintains that it was one of the longest waits of his life.

“We were at my aunt’s house, we was barbecuing, having crawfish, gumbo, everything you could think of in New Orleans,” Jones said. “When I finally got the call, I answered it and I told my cousin, ‘Go grab my momma’ and I said [to the Texans], ‘What took you so long to call me man?'”

His whole family took to the New Orleans streets celebrating but being drafted was just the beginning for Jones.

Houston he claims, made him a better man as well as professional. He immediately noticed the differences going from a small school to a multi-million dollar football organization.

“Houston made me grow, when I walked in they made me understand that this is a job now, this your livelihood and you have to put your time and dedication into it,” Jones said. “Coming from a small school, I walked into the locker room and I was like, ‘I had never seen anything like this before’ We get any pair of socks we want, any pairs of gloves we want, brand new cleats everyday, we didn’t have that [in college.]”

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Jones (right) and Johnson (left) embrace during game against Indianapolis Colts. Photo: Getty Images

The Lane alum spent his career playing and learning with some of the best players the league had to offer.

“Andre Johnson, that’s my big brother right there, the crazy thing is we have the same birthday born on 7/11,” Jones said. “He taught me and showed me a lot.”

In 2012, Jones joined the Baltimore Ravens with a simple goal.

“I was going to make everybody apologize who doubted me,” Jones said. “Whoever doubted me, I’m gonna make you apologize, that was my whole motto the whole year.”

The former Texan was voted an All-Pro, breaking the Ravens’ franchise record for kickoff returns in a season (two).

A season that led to a play known as the “Mile High Miracle.”

On a third down with less than a minute to go in the Divisional Round, quarterback Joe Flacco rolled out to pass and heaved the ball looking for Jones. Like they practiced, the ball fell right into his hands and used his speed to outrun everyone for the winning touchdown.

“I was just playing ball and when the ball fell into my hands I was like, ‘Is this real,'” Jones said. “I was running to the end zone and I sent a kiss to the sky to thank God.”

His best performance was yet to come. In the 2012 Super Bowl, Jones became the first to return and catch a touchdown in Super Bowl history. His runback was the longest kickoff return and scoring play ever executed in the big game.

Head coach Jim Harbaugh and Jones agreed he would treat the return like a track meet and run straight ahead with no cuts.

A weird exchange between he and legendary linebacker Ray Lewis was a sign of what was about to unfold.

“I was going to do the Ray Lewis [Dance,]” Jones said. “The crazy thing is when I came out of the locker room, Ray said, ‘Come here boy’ and he rubbed my chest and I was like ‘what the hell you doin Ray, what you rubbin on me for,’ And when I ran it back he said, ‘I touched you, I touched you’ That’s Ray [for you].”

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Jacoby Jones does ‘Squirrel Dance’ after returning the opening second half kickoff for a touchdown. Photo: Getty Images

As the former track star started his return, he could only think of his teammates.

“I wasn’t going to let them down,” Jones said. “If I found a hole, [I knew] I was gonna take it to the crib.”

The triple zeroes hit the clock. Then the confetti fell on the Super Bowl champion in his home state of Louisiana. A story coming full circle after the wide receiver lost his high school and first home to Hurricane Katrina.

“I won the Super Bowl in my own city, how many people can say they won the Super Bowl in their home city and put up numbers like that,” Jones said. “I came home and did it and it was my son’s first football he game, he was 6 months.”

After an eventful football career and an appearance on “Dancing With The Stars,” Jones thought of one thing he desired to do.

“I always wanted to be a coach,” Jones said.  “I always thought I would make it to the league but if I didn’t, I wanted to end up being a coach.”

In a visit back to his alma mater, he told the Lane head coach Derrick Burroughs if they needed a hand to call him.

Sitting at lunch with New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara, Burroughs came calling.

“I was speaking to them saying ‘I just wanna shot at coaching,'” Jones said. “10 minutes later, he called and said ‘You know why I’m calling right, you got the job if you want it.'”

Jones talks with two Lane College players. Photo: WBBJ

Today, Jones is the wide receiver and return coach for the Dragons. Loving to pass down his knowledge and wisdom to kids who want to get to the top in his life after football.

“The greatest thing about coaching to me, is trying to teach these boys that no matter what school you go to that you can make it,” Jones said. “I’m teaching them about more than just football, but what’s outside of football in life as well, how to be disciplined, how to manage time, how to be where your supposed to be at, and how to retain information for when they get to the real world.”








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