|Behind the Steel Curtain|
The injury occurred against Oregon on Halloween in 2009. By all accounts, it was a routine hit, but after staying on the turf for a few seconds, he was removed from the game. Within days, he found himself in the hospital, where a specialist told him he had a “mild” case of spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column. “I’ve seen this over and over again,” Jones remembers the doctor saying. “If you play the game long enough, things like this will happen.”
The doctor told Jones he would be fine and he could play again. But the Trojans’ team doctors thought the injury was much more serious and refused to clear him for contact; they eventually recommended that Jones retire from football. So the then-20-year-old spent his days wandering from class to the basketball gym to the weight room. “Just like a regular student,” he says. Just a 6’3″, 241-pound student who considered trying out for USC’s basketball team.
“But in my head,” Jones says, “I never let go of the fact that the first specialist told me I’d be okay.”
In fact, he’s been better than okay. Now an All-American for the No. 5 Georgia Bulldogs, Jones is arguably the best defender in college football, a master of technique with a sixth sense for tracking down quarterbacks. (ESPN, Jordan Conn)
Just as there must always be a Stark in Winterfell, the Pittsburgh Steelers must have dominating linebackers. The organization wasted no time. When it can, it also has a prejudice in favor strong character qualities enhanced by overcoming adversity. A lucky and suitable draft choice.
Now, if only we can get them to stop ripping off taxpayers at most opportunities. But that’s our own fault, isn’t it?
Confidential to Mr. Jones: you can sponsor sandwiches, shoes or designer sports drink to your heart’s content, but despite the obvious temptation I wouldn’t be in any great rush to market hair products. That way flies Icarus. Welcome to the City of Champions.