GREENWICH, Connecticut - He was a mainstay at the wide receiver position for the New England Patriots during the 1980's. The dependable Cedric Jones played nine seasons with the Patriots (1982-90) and his 191 career receptions and 2,703 yards rank him in the top 15 in team history in both categories.
"I am a big history buff, so coming to the New England area was great for me. It's where our country started," said Jones. "Some of my favorite places were Plymouth,Hyannisport with the Kennedys, and Bunker Hill. I was very excited to come to New England.
"The Patriots organization was fantastic to me when I played there. I suited up with some great players and I really enjoyed my stay in New England."
Jones was the epitome of a team player, always putting collective goals ahead of individual ones. He often found himself backing up Stanley Morgan and Irving Fryar, but when either one was out of the lineup he was always called upon and he produced.
"Each person who comes into the National Football League has to find their niche," said Jones. "Mine was always being dependable and I was able to play all four wide receiver positions so when someone got injured I was the swing guy. I wanted to do whatever I could to help the team."
These days Jones, 45, is still involved with the NFL, working at the league office in New York City. He is the NFL Senior Director of Youth Football, where he oversees operations both internationally and domestically.
"I've worked at the National Football League office for 12 and half years now," said Jones. "The commissioner approached me about three years ago and asked if I would interview for the position because he wanted to start a new department. At first I said no, but then I thought about it and what better business to be in then providing curriculums and programs for young people to help them achieve their goals in life.
"We have a youth football fund that was established in 1998, which is a $150 million fund. Also we have programs we run from "Punt, Pass and Kick" to NFL Flag Football to NFL junior player development to NFL high school player development. I've really enjoyed it." Currently, Jones resides in Greenwich, Connecticut with his wife, Suzy. The couple has three boys, Cori, 19, and Cameron and Colin, who are twins and seniors at Greenwich High School. The twins, just like their dad, are being recruited by a number of schools to play football. Outside of work, Jones enjoys watching his boys play high school football and does a lot of speaking engagements in particular to youth groups.
"I try and stay active in as many community and civic projects as I can," said Jones.
A third-round draft pick by New England in 1982 out of Duke University, Jones spent his entire NFL career with the Patriots, which is something that means a lot to him.
"I am proud," commented Jones about only playing for the Patriots. "There is a new paradigm now with free agency. Most guys now play three or four years trying to get the next big contract and move on. I enjoyed staying there and enjoyed my role with the Patriots."
Jones fondly remembers the 1985 season when he helped "Squish the Fish," a 31-14 victory over the Miami Dolphins in the AFC Championship Game. The victory marked the first time in team history New England had been to the Super Bowl.
"I'll always remember it," said Jones. "We are the only team in the history of the NFL to win three games on the road and make it to the Super Bowl. I take great pride in that. The game didn't turn out particularly the way we wanted, but we had a great run and a great time."
As far as the current Patriots, who have become a regular at the Super Bowl having won it in three of the last four seasons, Jones could not be prouder and he still follows them closely. "My sons are huge Patriots fans and we follow them religiously," said Jones. "I'm proud of what they have done and the type of organization they have established. Bill Belichick and Scott Pioli try to do things the right way and they embody what a National Football League team should be."
BIRTHDAY: June 1, 1960
RESIDES: Greenwich, Connecticut
WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? Lived in New York until 12, then moved to North Carolina
ENJOYS: Watching his sons play football
CLAIM TO FAME: Played nine seasons with the Patriots (1982-90) and entering the 2005 season his 191 career receptions and 2,703 yards ranks him in the top 15 in team history in both categories.
CURRENT FOOTBALL PLAYER YOU MOST LIKE TO WATCH? Marvin Harrison
GREATEST QUARTERBACK WHO THREW YOU THE BALL? Steve Grogan
CHARITIES YOU SUPPORT: YMCA, Boys and Girls Club, Boy Scouts of America
GREATEST DEFENSIVE BACK THAT COVERED YOU? Mike Haynes
TOUGHEST HITTERS YOU PLAYED AGAINST? Lawrence Taylor and Ronnie Lott
ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS FANS? Fanatical
EVER WALK THE FREEDOM TRAIL? Yes
CLAM CHOWDA OR LOBSTA? Clam chowder, definitely
CANDLEPIN BOWLING OR BIG BALL BOWLING? Big ball
DID YOU WATCH THE RED SOX WIN THE WORLD SERIES? IF YES, WHERE
WERE YOU? Yes I did, and I was at home