Pro football receiver Jacoby Jones was born on July 11, 1984, in New Orleans, Louisiana. A late arrival to the game of football, Jones was a junior in high school before he played his first organized game. He excelled at Lane College, and in the 2007 NFL draft the Houston Texans selected Jones in the third round. In 2012, he helped guide the Baltimore Ravens to victory at Super Bowl XLVII.
Jacoby Rashi'd Jones was born on July 11, 1984, in New Orleans, Louisiana. A late convert to the game of football—he was a junior at Abramson High School when he first started playing—Jones was a standout track athlete and basketball player for much of his childhood. But the naturally gifted Jones immediately took to his new sport, and over the course of his final two years at Abramson he played both receiver and defensive back for his school's football team.
Choosing to stay close to home, Jones attended Southeastern Louisiana University on a track scholarship in 2002. Eager to play football, however, Jones transferred the following year to Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, where he split time between his track commitments and the football squad.
At Lane, Jones shone as a multi-sport star—even joining the college's basketball team for the 2005-06 season. But in the summer of 2006, Jones decided to commit solely to football, a decision that paid off that autumn when he was named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player.
A dynamic receiver and special teamer, Jones started all 43 games he played in for Lane and wrapped his career with 5,380 all-purpose yards, a school record. He is also the only player in SIAC history to be named All-SIAC at three positions (punt returner, kickoff returner and receiver).
In the 2007 NFL draft, the Houston Texans selected the 6-foot-2 Jones in the third round. His career in Houston proved to be a rocky affair. While a viable part of the team's offense and special teams play, he also developed a reputation for dropping the football.
As a result, during his five seasons in Houston, Jones became a target of disgruntled fans. His worst moment came in the 2011 playoffs, when he muffed a punt in a 20-13 divisional loss to Baltimore. That off-season, the Texans released the receiver.
Jones got a second pro life in May 2012, when the Baltimore Ravens signed him to a contract. With a new team and playing in front of new fans, Jones excelled, becoming one of the league's most dynamic kickoff returners and earning himself his first trip to the Pro Bowl as a member of the American Football Conference's special teams unit.
In the playoffs, Jones continued his hot play. He caught an improbable 70-yard throw from quarterback Joe Flacco with 31 seconds left in the divisional round to tie the game against the Denver Broncos. The Ravens went on to win the game in overtime and then defeated Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in the AFC title game.
Playing in his home city of New Orleans, Jones helped steer the Ravens to a Super Bowl win over the San Francisco 49ers in 2012 (at Super Bowl XLVII). In the game, Jones returned the opening kickoff in the second half for 108 yards—the longest kickoff return in Super Bowl history. "I can't explain it," the elated Jones said after the win. "We got the W. I got the W at home, and, Monday morning, I'm headed to my second home, which is Baltimore, and bring that win."
Off the Field
Following the Ravens' Super Bowl victory and Jones's newfound celebrity, the receiver signed on for the 16th season of Dancing with the Stars. Trying to become the fourth NFL player to win the competition, Jones finished third with his partner, Karina Smirnoff.
However, over the course of the season, Jones improved considerably as a dancer, earning respect from the show's judges.
"It's not where you start, as you know. It's where you finish," judge Carrie Ann Inaba said after Jones wrapped up his final dance. "And tonight, once again, you have proven why you are still here. You are a champion. That was the dance of a champion."
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