ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Fred VanVleet and James Robinson are two athletes who played at Rockford schools that went undrafted and yet have made it big in their sports. Robert Jones is on that same path.
Jones played his senior season on the offensive line at East High School in 2016. Now he’s on the Miami Dolphins’ 53-man roster, a lock to suit up for their first game next week barring an injury or illness. Jones found out Tuesday afternoon he had made it when the final cuts were announced. Thursday he held his first NFL press conference.
“It was a blessing, said Jones. “I was happy to just get the opportunity to be out here and play for the Miami Dolphins. I was just so blessed for the opportunity.”
Jones took the rocky road to the NFL. He wasn’t heavily recruited at East. He played two years for a junior college in Kansas and then moved up to D-1 with Middle Tennessee State where he was named honorable mention Conference USA at guard. Still, he went undrafted in April. The Dolphins called, he signed. He’s been getting the job done on the practice field and in preseason games ever since.
“I just feel like, you know, coming from JUCO it was hard, and I just kept my head down and kept working,” said Jones. “I was lucky I had coaches who pushed me. I had a family that stuck by my side and pushed me. It worked in my favor and when I was able to take the jump, I took it and ran with it.”
More like blocked and powered his way with it. Jones is listed as the Dolphins second string right guard, but he can also play tackle. That versatility makes him an asset. Some athletes want to play the glamour positions. Jones loves being on the offensive line doing the dirty work.
“To me being able to go against another man and move him, you know, against his will, that’s the best part of playing offensive line.”
The minute Jones learned on Tuesday that his NFL dream had come true his phone lit up.
“Everybody texts, called me, congratulated me. You know I came so far. Nobody ever thought I would be in this position, so everybody was happy for me. I’m just trying to make them proud.
He already has. Jones says he’s renting a nice little apartment in South Florida. He’s keeping things simple despite drawing an NFL paycheck.