For San Jose State University wide receiver James Jones, the weekend of April 28-29 will be one of the most momentous in his life.
The 23-year-old native of San Jose has dreamed of a professional football career. His dream can become a reality whether he is selected by a National Football League (NFL) team in the 2007 draft, signs a free agent contract with one of the NFL’s 32 teams or pursues an opportunity in another professional league like the Canadian Football League or the Arena Football League.
Since the Spartans’ New Mexico Bowl victory in December 2006, Jones has been projected as the team’s top professional prospect. He played in the 2007 Inta-Juice All-Star Classic in Houston in January and was invited to the NFL’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. There, he was one of 300 who completed variety of on and off the field tests giving teams a gauge as to his potential as a pro player.
“Ever since I was little, I wanted to play football. I take football as my job. Every day I go out there on the field, I take it as ‘this is my interview.’ I’ve got to show my boss or the people looking at me that I am capable of doing the job. I take it like that every time I step on the field or in the weight room,” said Jones, who was a multi-sport star at nearby Gunderson High School.
The last two months could be considered prep time for the opportunity he has coveted as a youngster.
“Now that we’re getting down to the draft, I more nervous, but excited, too. I’ve been working out a lot trying to keep my mind off of it. A lot of teams have been calling for individual workouts. It’s been pretty good,” said the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Jones. “I worked out for the Niners, Miami Dolphins, (St. Louis) Rams, (Oakland) Raiders.”
“They want to see your hand-eye coordination, how fast you get out of your cuts. There are no (clockings of) 40’s, no lifting of weights. It’s all just running routes,” according to the 2006 second-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection who caught 70 passes for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior.
The visibility of embarking on a professional football career means a lot of people, friends and want-to-be friends, offer advice and insight. Well-meaning, perhaps, and, particularly, with the growing use and influence of the internet, there are plenty of opinions on Jones’ status connected with the NFL draft.
“I really don’t get into the stuff (people are telling me). Everybody hears something different. Everybody is on a different web site. Everybody is talking to different people. Everybody is finding out different information. Some of it is and some of it is wrong. You never know what is right and what is wrong because the people who are telling you aren’t the people who could draft you,” reflected the sociology major.
Jones plans to spend the weekend of the NFL draft at home with family and friends. Nothing elaborate is planned. Any celebration will take place once he knows whom his future employer will be.
The National Football League draft consists allows each team to participate in seven rounds of player selections. 255 players will be selected, 99 of them on Saturday, April 28.
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