The Cincinnati Reds 9th round draft pick had been fighting against all odds to live his dream of playing in an NFL football stadium. The 2010 3rd round draft pick of the New York Giants was preparing for his first NFL season, when he nearly lost his left leg in an automobile accident.

Jones’ unrelenting efforts to get back into football shape was documented in Always a Fire. Follow the link to the YouTube video, but be warned of graphic pictures of his leg during surgery, starting at the 2:00 minute mark.

While overcoming so much in just two short years, Jones’ NFL dreams came to end earlier this year. “When it came to football, just as a defensive back, I was stuck at 90%.”

However, Chad Jones didn’t only play football in college. Jones was a two-sport star for the LSU Tigers, winning a Bowl Championship Series title in 2007 with the Tigers and a College World Series title in 2009. As a left-handed reliever, Jim Callis noted “He was a 6-foot-3, 220-pounder with above-average power potential, speed and arm strength as a right fielder, not to mention an 88-93 mph fastball and power slider on the mound.”

So, his comeback trail forked from football onto a path to Major League Baseball. A NY Daily News article written just before the 2013 MLB draft, details the beginning of Jones’ story along this new path.

Jones says he felt “a little stiff, a little tight” in mid-February, but could throw 82 mph. A few weeks later, he hit 85. By mid-April, he was up to 87. He was regaining the slider that had been his out pitch at LSU, and working on a changeup for the first time. And the leg that was a quarter-step slow on the football field wasn’t bothering him at all.

“When it comes to pitching, there’s no glitch, no hitch in any part of my form,” he says. “I can push off. My leg has been put to the test.”

A post-draft story on the NFL website, notes that Jones was throwing at 88 to 91 mph in front of representatives of eight major league teams last month.

“As far as baseball, my body is physically 100 percent,” Jones said, via The Times-Picayune. “I feel real good. I told the teams I feel like I could play in the field again, but pitching is what I’m focused on.”

Read the stories.

“I’m definitely ready for the challenge,” he says. “If I’m in baseball, I’m not giving it up. I’m not giving this up until I succeed.”

Watch the videos.

I cannot wait to see Chad Jones in a Cincinnati uniform.

8 Responses

  1. Big Ed

    I remember seeing Jones in college games. He was pretty raw as a pitcher, but had an electric arm and great mound presence. He sounds pretty sharp in the Pam Oliver interview. He’s 24, but that shouldn’t matter, given his circumstances. He’ll be an easy guy to root for.

  2. WVRedlegs

    Chalk up another “atta boy” for the scouting department. With that grit and determination, he would make a nice 8th inning reliever. One to root for. Lefties don’t grow on trees.

  3. Sultan of Swaff

    Love the pick in the middle rounds, where you should be open to high upside/low experience type guys. Get this guy signed and in Dayton ASAP as a reliever. A bulldog competitor with a power fastball/slider combo would move quickly thru the organization, especially one with the maturity, life experience, and collegiate pedigree that Jones possesses.

  4. steveschoen

    I’d love to see him do it. I hope he can. Don’t give him a thing, though. Best if he earns it, like everyone else. Given that, please do it, Chad. I would love to see you in just a major league uniform much less a Reds uniform.

  5. TC

    Second best draft story this year. Only topped by the Giants drafting a guy killed in a car accident.

  6. Kyle

    I was really excited to see this pick. I went to LSU when Jones was there and was at the CWS games in 09. Jones never really focused on baseball in college (he was a star free safety). He was not on the team his sophomore year and only played in 07 and 09 when spring practice was not going on. He wasn’t even a pitcher in 07, it was a pretty big surprise when he started being used as a setup man but he was very successful. Both he and Jared Mitchell earned titles in baseball and football at LSU.

    He had a lot clearer path in the NFL before the injury (I guess most prospects do since the road is longer to MLB) but I’d love to see him work out for the Reds. He would have been incredibly raw before the injury but his best sport was supposed to be baseball before he came to LSU. It will be fun to follow him. Surely, he is the only guy in the organization with a super bowl ring.