Jones in 2012
No. 23 Pittsburgh Steelers
|Running back / Kickoff returner|
|Date of birth:May 8, 1987|
|Place of birth: Tulsa, Oklahoma|
|High school: Tulsa (OK) Washington|
|NFL Draft: 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22|
|Debuted in 2008 for the Dallas Cowboys|
|Roster status: Active|
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 5, 2013
|Stats at pro-football-reference.com|
Felix Jones, Jr. (born May 8, 1987) is an American football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for the University of Arkansas, and was a consensus All-American. He was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Jones was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Tulsa, where he was a football standout and a teammate of Robert Meachem, a 2010 member of the New Orleans Saints and Mark Anderson, a 2010 member of the Houston Texans.
Jones attended the University of Arkansas, where he majored in kinesiology and played for the Arkansas Razorbacks football team. While serving primarily as the back-up for All-American and two-time Doak Walker Award winner Darren McFadden, Jones was used in a variety of ways alongside McFadden and fullback Peyton Hillis in the Arkansas backfield. In the Wildhog formation, Jones was used as a runner, receiver, blocker, or simply a decoy. Jones gained fame for his ability in returning kickoffs, returning four for touchdowns during his college career.
In the 2006 season, Jones rushed for 1,168 yards and scored 6 touchdowns on 154 carries, and averaged 8.7 yards per carry. He was also an all-American kickoff returner and had one touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return against Ole Miss, and caught 15 passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns. Jones alongside McFadden and Peyton Hillis, it was the first time in University of Arkansas history that two different running backs rushed for more than 1,000 yards in the same season. Jones was a first-team All-SEC by the conference's coaches, and second-team All-SEC by the media. That team finished 10-4 and won the SEC Western Division title.
Jones finished with 123 carries for 1,162 yards and 11 touchdowns, while averaging 9.1 yards per carry, leading the nation. In addition, he led the Southeastern Conference in kickoff returns with 18 for 564 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 31.3 yards per return. Jones also had 13 receptions for 111 yards. 2007 marked the second straight year that Jones and McFadden have each eclipsed the 1,000 yards rushing in a season. The 2007 Razorbacks finished 8-4 before losing to Missouri in the January 1, 2008 Cotton Bowl Classic. Jones was named to the first-team All-SEC squad as a kick returner, and the second-team All-SEC as a running back. He was also named an All-American kick returner.
After being hired as the Razorbacks' head coach, Bobby Petrino stated that Jones was his "highest recruiting target" and soon met with Jones to discuss his future with Arkansas. However, Jones decided to forgo his senior season to enter the 2008 NFL Draft where numerous publications projected him to be taken in the first or second round.
2008 NFL Combine
|Ht||Wt||40-yd dash||10-yd split||20-yd split||20-ss||3-cone||Vert||Broad||BP|
|5 ft 10 in||207 lb||4.44 s||1.46 s||2.59 s||4.19 s||6.90 s||34.5 in||10 ft 4 in||13 reps|
|All values from Central Florida Pro Day.|
Looking to acquire a running back that could compliment the bruising style of starter Marion Barber III, the Dallas Cowboys drafted Jones in the first round of the 2008 NFL Draft (22nd overall), passing on other running backs like Rashard Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Matt Forté, Ray Rice and Jamaal Charles. The decision process for his selection was captured in the fourth season (2008) of HBO's Hard Knocks series. He signed a professional contract on July 26 for $10.53 million, with $7.67 million guaranteed, including a $3.57 million signing bonus.
The expectations were high in his rookie season, on his first rushing attempt in the NFL Jones ran for an 11-yard touchdown during the third quarter in a 28–10 victory over the Cleveland Browns. On September 15, during a Monday Night Football game versus the Philadelphia Eagles, Jones returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter of the 41–37 win, which earned him NFC Special Teams Player of the Week. In his third NFL game, Jones ran for a 60-yard touchdown against the Green Bay Packers on November 21. In Week 6, in the game against the Arizona Cardinals, Jones injured his left hamstring. It was reported by ESPN on December 20 that Jones would be out for the rest of the year due to a torn ligament suffered during the rehab of that injury.
In his second season he received more carries per game than in his rookie year, despite being a backup and one of three running backs used in the Cowboys offense. In his rookie season he never rushed for more than nine carries a game, but he reached the double digits mark. Against the Carolina Panthers he had his first career start in place of an injured Barber, recording eight carries for 94 yards (11.8), but also suffered a knee strain in the third quarter that ended his day and would make him miss two additional games. In the regular season, Jones set a Cowboys franchise record in average yards per carry with 5.9 yards, the tenth most since the AFL-NFL merger.
In the first Cowboys playoff win since 1996, playing against the Philadelphia Eagles, he led the team with 16 carries for 148 yards (including a 73-yard touchdown run). His 148 yards are the third-most rushing yards in a playoff game in team history and his 73-yard run is the longest in franchise postseason history. He also became the first NFL player with 400 rushing yards on fewer than 50 career carries since Bo Jackson did it in 1987.
In 2010 he played in all 16 games for the only time in his career, starting seven games together or in place of Barber and leading the team with 800 rush yards on 185 carries (4.3 yards average) with one touchdown. Against the New York Giants he had the longest reception in his career (71 yards). In 2011 after Barber was released by the team, the expectation was that Jones would be the primary running back, but after injuring his ankle in the fifth game of the season against the New England Patriots, the four games he missed gave rookie DeMarco Murray the opportunity to earn the starter position for good.
Jones missed the entire 2012 offseason workouts because of shoulder surgery and failed the conditioning test at the start of training camp. His best game came against the eventual Super Bowl champions the Baltimore Ravens, when he replaced an injured DeMarco Murray and finished with 18 carries for 92 yards and one touchdown. After playing in all 16 games and having 7 starts, the Cowboys decided not to re-sign Jones after the season, making him a free agent. During his 5 years with the team he registered 2,728 rushing yards, with a 4.8 yards average and 11 touchdowns, while also adding 1,062 receiving yards with 3 touchdowns.
|Career Totals||(5 seasons)||64||569||2,728||4.8||11||60||127||1,062||8.4||3||71||64||1,534||24.0||1||98|
- Phillips, Rob (2008-07-26). "Felix Jones signs; Arrives for second practice". Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "Romo throws for 320 yards, Dallas defense controls Cleveland". ESPN. 2008-09-07. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- "T.O. moves into 2nd on TD receptions list as Cowboys win shootout with Eagles". ESPN. 2008-09-15. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Mayer, Larry (2013-07-10). "Peete following in his father's footsteps". Chicago Bears. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
- Eagles Sign RB Felix Jones
- Rosenthal, Gregg (August 23, 2013). "Felix Jones traded from Philadelphia Eagles to Steelers". NFL.com. Retrieved August 23, 2013.