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Chad Jones, LB?

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Chad Jones, LB?

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:50 am

from http://www.nola.com/sports/index.ssf/2012/02/chad_jones_dream_of_playing_in.html

Chad Jones' dream of playing in NFL is closer than most would have thought

Published: Friday, February 17, 2012, 3:15 AM
By Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune

Chad Jones might not ever play a down for the New York Giants. The road to complete his remarkable comeback and dream of playing in the NFL remains long and arduous. Despite his notable progress, the odds remain stacked against him.

Only 15 months ago Chad Jones still wore a protective boot on his left leg. Now he's cutting sharply on the injured joint and is ready to better his October 2011 clocking of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

But I know one thing: I'm not betting against him.

The New Orleans native and former LSU star already has come farther than anyone thought possible after he nearly lost a leg in a horrific auto accident in June 2010, just weeks after being drafted by the Giants.

Few thought Jones would get this far. Even some of his doctors were skeptical that he'd ever walk again without a limp, much less run and eventually participate in an NFL camp.

In 20 long, hard months, Jones has gone from a diagnosis of possibly being disabled to the precipice of a return to the NFL.

Jones' remarkable story added another surprising chapter Monday when the Giants cleared him to join the team for its offseason conditioning program. The club also recently restructured the final two years of his contact, reducing his base salary by about $100,000 in each of the next two seasons, but he did not sign a new contract extension, as was reported.

That might not sound like much on the surface, but it's the first significant move by the club to bring Jones back in the fold. For the first time since he suited up for a rookie minicamp in May 2010, Jones will wear the famed blue-and-red helmet as a member of the defending Super Bowl champions.

Jones will move to New York in April and is expected to begin on-field work with the team for the first time when the club's offseason conditioning program starts April 16. He still needs to pass the club's physical, but everyone involved reportedly is confident he's ready to return to football in some capacity.

"It's huge," said John Moran, Jones' physical therapist who oversaw the initial stages of Jones' recovery.

That Jones has made it this far is nothing short of miraculous. The crash delivered a devastating double whammy to his left leg -- massive nerve and soft-tissue damage in his thigh, calf, heel and ankle, along with a compound fracture of the tibia and fibula.

As far as anyone can tell, no professional athlete -- and certainly no NFL player -- has fully recovered from the combination of gruesome lower-leg injuries Jones is trying to overcome.

Still, he has made remarkable progress in the past year under the watchful eyes of Moran, strength and conditioning coach Carter Stamm and speed and agility coach Derrick Joseph. Only 15 months ago he still wore a protective boot on his left leg. Now, Moran said, he's cutting sharply on the injured joint and is ready to better his October clocking of 4.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

Whether Jones actually makes it remains to be seen. Countless hurdles remain. Questions abound.

Can he pass a physical and make the move to linebacker, the position Giants coaches are considering switching him to this spring?

Will his football instincts return?

Will there be any residual emotional effects from the accident?

And most important, can his leg withstand the daily physical contact inherent to the sport?

Since he started his rehab back in the fall of 2010, Jones has set a 2012 target for his return. However, that might be overly optimistic given he hasn't played a down of football in more than two years.

Not surprisingly, though, the man who watched Jones take the first step in his recovery is confident the dreadlocked defender is ready to take the next big step in his comeback.

"I really think he's going to make it to the next level, even if it's as a second-string middle linebacker," Moran said. "He's stronger than he was before the accident, and he's going to run a 4.6 flat (40-yard dash). The Giants are happy and going to give him a good shot at it."

Indeed, Monday's move is a clear indication the Giants aren't simply playing to public sentiment. They've invested a lot of time and effort into Jones' rehabilitation. Team officials have stood by him for each step of this two-year journey. They agreed to pay him much of the original four-year, $2.6 million contract he signed after the draft and recognized him during their visit to New Orleans this past season. They plan to award him a Super Bowl ring for their victory over the Patriots earlier this month.

Their support is another example of why the Giants are widely considered one of the classiest organizations in pro sports.

The Giants should be commended for their support of Jones.

Likewise, Jones should be applauded for his inspiring recovery. His story is a success regardless of how the final chapters are written.

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Re: Chad Jones, LB?

Post  Pizan on Mon Apr 02, 2012 4:59 am

Thats awesome. I can't wait to see him hit the field whether its S or LB or just ST's. We have two huge success stories with Herz and Jones.
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Re: Chad Jones, LB?

Post  Big_Pete on Mon Apr 02, 2012 5:03 am

I totally agree.

He has lost some speed by all reports, but he still is pretty quick. I am keen to see how Jones goes with a full offseason program.

Jones is kid I am really rooting for this offseason.
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Re: Chad Jones, LB?

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:30 am

Jones has determination that's for sure. Cutting and changing direction on that leg is what I'm interested in. He could run a 4.5 40 and it still wouldn't matter if he can't plant and go.
A great story and the Giants org gets a lot of my respect for this one.
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Re: Chad Jones, LB?

Post  Sect128Mike on Mon Apr 02, 2012 10:18 am

56 Crazed Dogs wrote:Jones has determination that's for sure. Cutting and changing direction on that leg is what I'm interested in. He could run a 4.5 40 and it still wouldn't matter if he can't plant and go.
A great story and the Giants org gets a lot of my respect for this one.

I am a HUGE fan of this kid. He has all the heart and determination anyone could ever hope for in a player. I also fear the injury will be the type he can never fully recover from, but I am cheering for him to be able to do it.
That said, I think its a mistake to plan for him being a starter next year. I hope he is, but he may never get back or never be more than a ST/role player. As far as the team goes, they continue to be the great organization that they are by helping this kid recover from a non-fb injury. The organization is all class. I think they will plan as if he will not be there and hope they have the problem of having an extra starting level safety or LB on the squad. If he does play, when he walks out onto the field, I will be standing and cheering for him.

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