Julius Jones

Last updated

Julius Jones
Julius Jones 2009.jpg
Jones with the Seahawks in 2009
No. 21, 22
Position: Running back
Personal information
Born: (1981-08-14) August 14, 1981 (age 37)
Big Stone Gap, Virginia
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:208 lb (94 kg)
Career information
High school: Big Stone Gap (VA) Powell Valley
College: Notre Dame
NFL Draft: 2004  / Round: 2 / Pick: 43
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:5,068
Rushing average:4.0
Rushing touchdowns:22
Receiving yards:1,029
Receiving touchdowns:2
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Julius Andre Maurice Jones (born August 14, 1981) is a former American football running back in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame.

American football Team field sport

American football, referred to as football in the United States and Canada and also known as gridiron, is a team sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end. The offense, which is the team controlling the oval-shaped football, attempts to advance down the field by running with or passing the ball, while the defense, which is the team without control of the ball, aims to stop the offense's advance and aims to take control of the ball for themselves. The offense must advance at least ten yards in four downs, or plays, and otherwise they turn over the football to the defense; if the offense succeeds in advancing ten yards or more, they are given a new set of four downs. Points are primarily scored by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone for a touchdown or kicking the ball through the opponent's goalposts for a field goal. The team with the most points at the end of a game wins.

Running back

A running back (RB) is an American and Canadian football position, a member of the offensive backfield. The primary roles of a running back are to receive handoffs from the quarterback for a rushing play, to catch passes from out of the backfield, and to block. There are usually one or two running backs on the field for a given play, depending on the offensive formation. A running back may be a halfback, a wingback or a fullback. A running back will sometimes be called a "feature back" if he is the team's starting running back.

National Football League Professional American football league

The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.


Early years

Jones was born in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. His mother, Betty, worked the graveyard shift in a Virginia coal mine for nearly 20 years while raising seven children, including his big brother Thomas Jones. While in Appalachia, Virginia, his father encouraged the children to learn five new words per day, and made them read the front page of the newspaper, before they could read the sports section. Jones credits his parents with instilling the ambition and strong work ethic that he is known for in professional football.

Big Stone Gap, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Big Stone Gap is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States. The town was economically centered around the coal industry for much of its early development. The population was 5,643 at the 2010 census.

Virginia State of the United States of America

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.

Appalachia, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Appalachia is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,754 at the 2010 census.

He attended Powell Valley High School, where he was a letterman in football, basketball, and track. In football, as a senior he registered 2,564 yards and 36 touchdowns, earning honorable-mention USA Today All-American honors. [1]

Union High School (Big Stone Gap, Virginia) public secondary school in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, United States

Union High School, located in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, is part of Wise County Public Schools. Union High School is a consolidated school, serving students from Appalachia and Big Stone Gap.

A letterman, in U.S. activities/sports, is a high school or college student who has met a specified level of participation or performance on a varsity team.

He contributed to his school winning 28 straight games and the Virginia Group A-Division II state title in 1997 and 1998, while being named the Virginia Group A Offensive Player of the Year in both years. He finished his high school career with 614 carries for 5,803 yards and 86 touchdowns. He also played safety and had 10 career interceptions.

College career

Jones played college football at the University of Notre Dame from 1999–2001 and 2003. As a freshman, he was a backup, playing mainly on special teams, while leading the team in both kickoff and punt return yardage, he also recorded 146-rushing yards and one touchdown against Navy. As a sophomore, he was a part of a three back rotation that included Tony Fisher and Terrance Howard, which limited him to only three 100 rushing yards games. In 2002, he was suspended from the team because of academic reasons.

College football collegiate rules version of American/Canadian football, played by student-athletes of American/Canadian colleges and universities

College football is American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities. It was through college football play that American football rules first gained popularity in the United States.

University of Notre Dame Private Catholic university in Notre Dame, Indiana, United States

The University of Notre Dame du Lac is a private Catholic research university in Notre Dame, Indiana, outside the city of South Bend. The main campus covers 1,261 acres (510 ha) in a suburban setting and it contains a number of recognizable landmarks, such as the Golden Dome, the Word of Life mural, the Notre Dame Stadium, and the Basilica. The school was founded on November 26, 1842, by Edward Sorin, who was also its first president.

United States Naval Academy The U.S. Navys federal service academy

The United States Naval Academy is a four-year coeducational federal service academy adjacent to Annapolis, Maryland. Established on 10 October 1845, under Secretary of the Navy George Bancroft, it is the second oldest of the United States' five service academies, and educates officers for commissioning primarily into the United States Navy and United States Marine Corps. The 338-acre (137 ha) campus is located on the former grounds of Fort Severn at the confluence of the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay in Anne Arundel County, 33 miles (53 km) east of Washington, D.C. and 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Baltimore. The entire campus is a National Historic Landmark and home to many historic sites, buildings, and monuments. It replaced Philadelphia Naval Asylum, in Philadelphia, that served as the first United States Naval Academy from 1838 to 1845 when the Naval Academy formed in Annapolis.

In 2003, although he began the season as a backup to Ryan Grant, he became the starter after the fifth game when he set a single-game school record for rushing yards (262) against the University of Pittsburgh. [2] He had three 200-yard rushing performances, which is another school record, and one of the best single seasons ever by an Irish running back. He posted 229 carries for 1,268 yards (tied for the fourth-most in school history) and 10 touchdowns. He finished his college career as one of only four running backs in school history to rush for over 3,000 yards. He also set school records for kickoff return yards (1,678), combined kick return yards (2,104) and all-purpose yards (5,372).

Ryan Grant (running back) American football running back

Ryan Brett Grant is a former American football running back in the National Football League (NFL). Grant played college football at Notre Dame where he rushed for over 1,000 yards in his only year as the starting running back. He originally signed with the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2005, but never played a game for them. Shortly before the 2007 season, Grant was traded to the Green Bay Packers in exchange for a future sixth-round draft pick. He would go on to play for the Packers for six seasons.

University of Pittsburgh American state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

The University of Pittsburgh is a state-related research university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was founded as the Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on the edge of the American frontier. It developed and was renamed as Western University of Pennsylvania by a change to its charter in 1819. After surviving two devastating fires and various relocations within the area, the school moved to its current location in the Oakland neighborhood of the city; it was renamed as the University of Pittsburgh in 1908. Pitt was a private institution until 1966 when it became part of the Commonwealth System of Higher Education.

Professional career

Dallas Cowboys


After the NFL's All-Time leading rusher Emmitt Smith departed to the Arizona Cardinals, the Dallas Cowboys were looking to fix a disappointing running attack led by Troy Hambrick, with the selection of a potential franchise running back. In the 2004 NFL Draft they found themselves with the opportunity to draft Steven Jackson, the highest ranked running back, that fell because of concerns over a knee injury. Instead, the team felt they could select a comparable running back later in the draft and chose to trade their first round pick to the Buffalo Bills (who used it to select J.P. Losman) for a future 2005 first round pick who the Cowboys would later use on defensive end Marcus Spears. [3] Jones was the back selected by the team in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft. At the start of the season, already with a bruised rib, Jones fractured his scapula bone in a win versus the Cleveland Browns early in week two and the team was forced to depend on veteran free agent acquisition Eddie George during his absence.

Emmitt Smith American football running back

Emmitt James Smith III is a former college and professional American football running back who became the National Football League's (NFL) all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league during the 1990s and 2000s.

Arizona Cardinals National Football League franchise in Glendale, Arizona

The Arizona Cardinals are a professional American football franchise based in the Phoenix metropolitan area. The Cardinals compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) West division. The Cardinals were founded as the Morgan Athletic Club in 1898, and are the oldest continuously run professional football team in the United States. The Cardinals play their home games at State Farm Stadium, which opened in 2006 and is located in the northwestern suburb of Glendale.

Dallas Cowboys National Football League franchise in Arlington, Texas

The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football team based in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The Cowboys compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member club of the league's National Football Conference (NFC) East division. The team is headquartered in Frisco, Texas, and plays its home games at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, which opened for the 2009 season. The stadium took its current name prior to the 2013 season. The Cowboys joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1960. The team's national following might best be represented by its NFL record of consecutive sell-outs. The Cowboys' streak of 190 consecutive sold-out regular and post-season games began in 2002. The franchise has made it to the Super Bowl eight times, tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Denver Broncos for second most Super Bowl appearances in history, just behind the New England Patriots record eleven Super Bowl appearances. This has also corresponded to eight NFC championships, most in the NFC. The Cowboys have won five of those Super Bowl appearances, tying them with their NFC rivals, the San Francisco 49ers; both are second to Pittsburgh's and New England's record six Super Bowl championships. The Cowboys are the only NFL team to record 20 straight winning seasons (1966–85), in which they missed the playoffs only twice.

Jones was later healthy enough to play midway through the season and despite in a losing effort, he gained 80 yards on a stingy Baltimore Ravens defense led by Pro Bowl linebacker Ray Lewis. A week later, on a nationally televised Thanksgiving stage against his older brother Thomas and the Chicago Bears, Julius won "player of the game" honors when he rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns. As a result, Jones was the second Dallas Cowboy chosen for FOX's annual "Galloping Gobbler" trophy awarded every Thanksgiving Day. This honor was formerly bestowed upon running back Emmitt Smith in 2002 and later awarded to quarterback Tony Romo in 2006. As the season came to a close, Jones looked very impressive as he rushed for over 800 yards in the 8 remaining regular season games. The future looked promising and it appeared as if the team had found their successor to Smith. Jones was one of the few bright spots in a dismal 6-10 season.


Jones made a bold and confident goal of reaching 1,700 yards and 20 touchdowns. Against the Philadelphia Eagles in week 5, Julius rushed for 72 yards in the first half, but suffered a high ankle sprain that bothered him the entire season and was forced to sit out for 3 games. For the second straight year, Jones was considered to be injury prone and unable to carry the load of a franchise back. Rookie running back Marion Barber III turned in several strong performances in Julius' absence creating a running back controversy. Against the Detroit Lions Jones had rushed for 92 yards, but on 1st and goal from the 1-yard line, he was stopped 3 consecutive times. Later against the Carolina Panthers, Jones once again demonstrated his play-making ability when rushed for two touchdowns and 194 yards. Former Cowboys quarterback and now Fox Network commentator Troy Aikman, commented on Jones' speed burst and agility, something he had not seen since Julius' rookie season in 2004. The Cowboys finished the season with an uninspiring loss the next week to the St. Louis Rams at Texas Stadium. At a record of 9-7, Dallas missed the playoffs for the 2nd consecutive year and as if to signify the entire season, Jones came just 7 yards short of his first 1,000 yard season.


Jones' only goal this time was to stay healthy for a full season. After a strong start in which he gained 494 yards over the first five games, Jones saw his playing time decrease near the goal line and in the 4th quarter to Barber. Bill Parcells stated he wanted to keep both running backs fresh and used a "dual-back" system with Jones as the starter and Barber as the finisher. In week 14, versus the New Orleans Saints, Jones had the longest rush from scrimmage in his career with a 77-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the game. Jones also finally surpassed the 1,000 yard mark to become the first Cowboys back to do so since Emmitt Smith in 2001 and rushed for 112 yards in the Wildcard playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks. With the departure of Bill Parcells and the trade of his brother Thomas Jones to the New York Jets, rumors were rampant about the possible trade of Julius in the off-season as well. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones quickly dispelled any rumors stating "I don't see that happening" and was happy with the current rotation of Dallas running backs.


Entering the final year of his contract and with new coach Wade Phillips now in the fold, Julius had high hopes for the 2007 season. Jones stated that perhaps he listened to former head coach Bill Parcells more than he should have, rather than relying on his own instincts. During off-season workouts, with the numerous trade talks and a strong public support for Barber to start, Julius chose to work out privately in Arizona away from the distractions in Dallas. Statistically, he had his lowest season as a professional with 164 carries for 588 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although Jones was the starting running back for the entire 16-game regular season, he had been visibly frustrated as the ratio of carries slowly started to tilt in Barber's favor. Despite openly defending Julius throughout the season, ultimately Wade Phillips decided to give Barber the start in the Divisional playoff loss to the New York Giants. He left the team ranked in eighth place on the all-time rushing list with 3,484 yards on 885 carries.

Seattle Seahawks


On March 7, 2008, Jones agreed to a four-year deal with the Seattle Seahawks. [4] While competing for the starting job throughout training camp, Mike Holmgren decided to give the start to running back Maurice Morris against the Buffalo Bills in week one, but stated both backs will be used frequently. Morris was later sidelined with a knee injury and Jones ended the game with 13 carries for 45 yards. Against the San Francisco 49ers in week 2, Jones received his first start of the regular season and responded with 127 yards rushing and a touchdown in an overtime loss. In week 3 against the St. Louis Rams, Jones became the first Seahawks' running back to gain back-to-back 100-yard rushing games since 2005. He finished the day with 140 yards and a touchdown in a win against the Rams. Jones returned to Dallas in a Seahawks uniform on Thanksgiving Day and rushed for 37 yards on 11 carries in a loss to his former team. At the end of the 2008 regular season, Jones had 698 rushing yards (led the team) and 2 touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards a carry.


On September 14, 2009, which was also week 1 of the 2009 season, Jones rushed for 117 yards on 19 carries including a 62-yard Touchdown run in a 28-0 win over the St. Louis Rams. It was also his first touchdown since week 3 of the 2008 season. Jones has picked up his first two receiving touchdowns of his professional career in back to back games against the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears. Jones ended the season with 663 yards (led the team) on 177 attempts with a 3.7 yards per carry average he also had 2 rushing touchdowns. He also caught 35 passes for 232 yards a 6.6 average and 2 touchdowns.


On September 5, 2010, Julius Jones agreed to restructure his contract with the Seattle Seahawks in order to remain on the 53 man roster. On October 5, he was cut after the Seahawks traded a 2011 fourth round selection (#122-Chris Hairston) and a 2012 conditional choice (#147-Tank Carder), to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for Marshawn Lynch. [5]

New Orleans Saints


On October 12, 2010 Julius Jones signed with the New Orleans Saints. [6] He appeared in 10 games (2 starts), rushing for 193 yards on 48 carries. On January 8, 2011, Jones ran for two touchdowns against the Seattle Seahawks in a losing effort during the Wild Card Round of the NFL playoffs, the Saints lost 41-36. He became the first player to score a touchdown in a playoff game against the same team that cut him that same season. He wasn't re-signed after the playoffs.

Personal life

Jones is the younger brother of running back Thomas Jones, and in 2006 they became the first brothers in the NFL to each rush for 1,000 yards in the same season. He was raised in Big Stone Gap, Virginia. He is the fourth amongst seven children.

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  1. "Into The Light" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  2. "Jones, Irish power up, stop No. 15 Panthers" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. "Cowboys seemed to be drafting for next year" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  4. "Jones agrees to four-year deal as Seahawks bolster backfield" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. "Seahawks deal for Marshawn Lynch" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. "Saints sign free agent RB Julius Jones" . Retrieved February 19, 2016.