Former Jacksonville Jaguars fullback Greg Jones signed a one day contract with the team on Thursday and officially retired from the NFL. Jones played 11 seasons in the NFL, his last stop with the New Orleans Saints, but the first nine years of his career he spent paving the way for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.
"Ten years have flown by but this time will be my last time speaking to you all formerly as an NFL player. It’s been a time of happiness and grief, times where I’ve learned life lessons, times when I’ve gotten knocked on my butt both figuratively and literally. Football is a great game and there is no argument about that but at the same time it’s a relationship," Jones said at a press conference on Thursday. "You must nurture it, spend time with it by lifting weights, running and studying plays. If you do all of these things football will love you back and the feeling will be unexplainable. It’s a game that cannot be cheated but like any other relationship when one side starts mistreating the other it’s time for those both to go their separate ways. I will always love this game and it will always be a part of me."
Originally drafted in the second round, the thought was that Jones would be a perfect compliment to then running back Fred Taylor as a power back, as he was in college at Florida State University. Jones had dealt with a brutal knee injury in college and was a slow starter his rookie season, but in 2005 he had a four game stretch while Taylor was injured where he finally looked fully healthy, but he tore his other ACL the following season and ended up moving to the fullback position, where he excelled.
Jones never made a Pro Bowl, but he was regarded as one of the better all-around fullbacks in the NFL. He was loved by fans and teammates, even though he was one of the most soft spoken and quiet players on the team, but because of his tough play on the field and never back down attitude.
Here are some highlights from his press conference:
What was a highlight for you?
"Playing the Steelers in the playoffs walking out of the tunnel with it snowing, and the field was muddy and it looked like something from a throwback playoff game like a Bears game or something like that. How it was played back in the heyday. That right there would probably be the highlight of my career and the atmosphere I loved it. It was unexplainable. I am quite sure people in the room that were there at that time so you’ve got to ask one of them. I just loved it."
Why was it important for you to retire as a Jaguar?
"Because the city has meant so much to me and my family and the team. I just felt like it was the right thing to do. My kids loved the Jaguars even when we were in Houston and I was playing there they were still Jaguars fans. When Jacksonville came and they played out in Houston they came to the game in Jaguars gear. I will always be in Jacksonville. My heart will always be here even though I bleed garnet and gold I bleed teal and black now. I love this city, I love the team and no matter what people may say that’s how I am cut right now."
On if he missed the limelight and if he felt overshadowed?
"No I didn’t miss the limelight because one thing about football players when they line up or watch tape they can see who can play and who cannot play. Just as long as the other guys on the other side of the white line know the deal that I was a good player then I was fine with that."
Jones also indicated he'd like to get into the NFL coaching ranks and eventually become an offensive coordinator. He then joked that if he's an offensive coordinator, there will always be a fullback on his team.