Happy Tuesday everybody, unfortunately, this is not a story about the Tennessee Titans, it is simply a human interest story that I have been following for awhile now. Some of you may remember Chad Jones as the LSU defensive back/relief pitcher who blew people away with his bevy of athletic gifts. Guys who can play football like Jones and deliver 91 MPH fastballs with accuracy don't just come around all the time, he was a pretty exciting commodity for awhile.
Others may remember him for his vicious (and illegal) hit on Joe Adams of Arkansas back in 2007. While awareness for head injuries and the hits that cause them was around, I feel like that hit really sparked a whole new interest in player safety.
Maybe you don't remember him at all. Whatever the case may be, Chad Jones was a guy that I always rooted for. In 2010, Jones was drafted in the third round by the New York Giants. I was a believer that he would see solid playing time. But then, as it so often does, life happened.
Jones was involved in a horrific car accident shortly after being drafted. The scary thing was, this wasn't just career threatening, it was life threatening. Everything was taken from him in a matter of seconds. Fractions of seconds. That's all it took to take a man who was laying massive hits and matching up with SEC speed demons and make him almost totally unable to walk. As a result of the injury, Jones nearly lost his foot. The end result was multiple fractures and extensive nerve damage to his left leg. Per Big Blue View:
"Chad had a severe injury to his left leg, involving a complex tibial fracture with associated injury to muscle, nerves, and vascular structures," said Dr. Scott Rodeo, a Giants associate team physician. "This type of injury is often limb threatening, and can sometimes require amputation. He has made a remarkable recovery to date, with successful salvage of the leg. However, at this time he has residual sensory loss, muscle weakness, and tenuous soft tissue coverage in the involved lower leg. The resultant functional impairment precludes his ability to perform physically at the level required for professional football."
The procedure was hours upon hours of surgery and an agonizing physical therapy process. Even after two years of intensely focused training, he still hasn't come off of the reserve list.
The Giants were patient, they kept him around knowing full well he may never play a down for them, but finally, they reached their limit and he was waived. The good thing about this is that there doesn't appear to be any animosity. It seems that both parties realized that they had far exceeded the time that they needed to. Again, per BBV:
"We would like to thank the Giants organization for the manner in which they have supported Chad since his unfortunate accident two years ago," said Jones' agent Rocky Arceneaux. "Their genuine support and caring has far exceeded their obligations and he and his family will be eternally grateful. Chad is experiencing a minor setback and we expect a full recovery within a few months. He thanks everyone for their continued support and prayers. He will see his teammates on the field soon.""We consider Chad to be part of the Giants family, and we'll continue to work with him in his rehab," general manager Jerry Reese said. "As we've said since his accident, we're thankful he is alive and able to lead a normal life."
I don't know if "full recovery" means that we'll get to see Chad Jones patrolling the secondary for an NFL squad within the next couple of years, but I wouldn't put my money on it. This video does a good job of explaining the accident and recovery process.
This isn't a "the Titans should take a chance on Jones" post. I don't expect that anyone would at this point considering just how debilitating his injury is, it is simply a post that wants to emphasize just how fleeting life's gifts can be. Fate is a fickle mistress and it has dealt Chad Jones a tough hand. However, should he ever make it back to the league, or to the MLB as some have hinted he may try, Jones will truly be one of the most inspiring stories ever. On the other hand, this is also just one more chapter on this young man's impressive road to recovery. It is a miracle that he is still able to walk around, let alone run, after a crash like that. Honestly, just look at the car in the video. It's unbelievable that he made it out of there at all. Regardless of your college allegiances or , I hope that you can agree that his story is a powerful one. I know I won't be the only one rooting for him to suit up for an NFL team soon.