If we take a time machine back to the 2015 NFL Combine, we can all recall one prospect who had a breakout performance.
Former UCONN Cornerback Byron Jones.
Jones, who set a record world record in the broad jump (12 feet, 3 inches (3.73m), rose up draft boards quickly. And the Dallas Cowboys, who love freakish, athletic specimens, selected him with the 27th pick.
He would go on to play four years with the Boys before signing a lucrative contract with the Miami Dolphins, whom he currently still plays for.
Now you may be thinking – ‘Well, why are we talking about him? He's on another team.'
We're getting to that.
Circling back to Jones' freakish NFL Combine performance, he quoted a tweet on Saturday from the NFL in 2015, which paints a picture of the distance he jumped. AKA, two mini-coopers.
While you would expect him to relieve a great memory, Jones instead touched on the reality of his eight-year NFL career.
Per Jones, he said:
“much has changed in 8 years. today i can't run or jump because of my injuries sustained playing this game. do not take the pills they give you. do not take the injections they give you.”
He added that players should seek an outside doctor to learn the long-term implications of injuries they could suffer in the league. While that tweet was already controversial, Jones' following post was more notable.
In summary, Jones said it was a privilege to play in the NFL, but it came at a regrettable cost. He added no amount of success or financial gain was worth his chronic pain or disabilities – ending his post by wishing Godspeed to this year's NFL Draft class.
It was an honor and privilege to play in the NFL but it came at a regrettable cost I did not foresee. In my opinion, no amount of professional success or financial gain is worth avoidable chronic pain and disabilities. Godspeed to the draft class of 2023.
— Byron Jones (@TheByronJones) February 25, 2023
His tweet caused speculation that he was retiring. But Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson confirmed he was not retiring, nor there was no pending lawsuit – but the expectation is that he will be a post-June 1st cut candidate.
And while that could signal a possible reunion with the Cowboys for some fans (since we all know the team needs an upgrade in the secondary), there is no telling if his body can hold up anymore.
But his post adds another perspective to how dangerous and back-breaking the game can be. And before fans comment that he knew what he signed up for, my rebuttal is he likely never hoped he got hurt and he was playing a game that he loved.
The best thing you can do is hope he can fully recover from his injuries and if he were to retire – wish him a prosperous life.