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Ladies and Gentlemen, Donald Driver II

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by tromadz, Apr 29, 2007.

  1. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    packers.com article on james jones:


    Back in 1999, the Packers drafted a receiver in the seventh round who had experienced a difficult upbringing, living for a time as a teenager out of a U-Haul truck when his family hit some hard times.

    That was Donald Driver, whose success story will certainly be an inspiration to his new receiving mate.

    The Packers drafted wide receiver James Jones with the first of their two third-round selections on Saturday, the 78th pick overall, and the San Jose State product had his share of tough times as a California youngster as well.

    "Growing up was never really easy for me and my family," Jones said. "When I was young, me and my mother lived in homeless shelters, moved from homeless shelter to homeless shelter.

    "Some days you didn't eat, some days you did. I just kept working hard, and with faith in God I'm to this point now, and I'm so excited right now just to be a Green Bay Packer. It's an exciting moment for me and my family."

    The Packers are just as excited to have Jones, who was a steady contributor in college before blossoming as a senior, when he had 70 catches for 893 yards (12.8 avg.) and 10 touchdowns, earning team MVP and second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors.

    "He was very productive," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "We thought he was real good after the catch. He has excellent hands, a strong guy. We thought overall he was a very good player."

    At 6-0 1/2 and 207 pounds with a 4.6-second time in the 40-yard dash, Jones is considered a receiver who plays bigger and faster than the measurables. General Manager Ted Thompson said he sees Jones helping the offense as a rookie despite coming from a smaller school and having only one year as a full-time starter in college. He was also known to take a reverse handoff on occasion as well as return punts, using his strong hands to secure the ball.

    "He's almost 6-1, but he plays even bigger than that," Thompson said. "When he goes up for the ball, defenders seem to just fall apart. He makes catches inside, he runs slants, he runs the ball well."

    Because he plays such a physical style, Jones feels his biggest adjustment to pro football will be mental, learning what he needs to in the film room and classroom to be a productive player early in his career.

    "To me the pro game and the college game is the same, it's just the pro game is a lot faster," he said. "To me it's about understanding the game, understanding the defenses you're going against, the coverages you're going against. I'm always going to play hard, play fast and play physical, and hopefully that gets me a long way."
    -------------------------

    No im not saying hes gonna be as good as donald, i just got excited is all.
     
  2. cyoung

    cyoung Cheesehead

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    You know what Aaron Rouse also had a tough upbringing, its amazing how these people rise to the top after such hard times.

    "The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." -- Vince Lombardi

    "It's not whether you get knocked down, it's whether you get up." --Vince Lombardi
     
  3. pack_in_black

    pack_in_black Cheesehead

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    My first thought was Greg Jennings II. Not amazing 'measurables', but great instincts.
     
  4. all about da packers

    all about da packers Cheesehead

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    I am excited, I think we all wanted Brett to get some help, and we thought a TE would be best. Kudos to TT for not thinking simply to our problem, and instead getting a tough receiver that is great at getting the ball at its highest point.

    I gotta say though, this means one of Ferggy/Martin/Holiday probably won't make it.
     
  5. Danreb

    Danreb Cheesehead

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    An okay receiver in a pisspoor conference.

    I really hope they prove me wrong. I really do.
     
  6. Mortfini

    Mortfini Cheesehead

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    not knocking DD but id rather it was Sterling Sharpe II
     
  7. Zombieslayer

    Zombieslayer Cheesehead

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    Shannon Sharpe? ;)
     
  8. pyledriver80

    pyledriver80 Cheesehead

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    lololololol
     
  9. Chamuko

    Chamuko Cheesehead

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    Maybe TT=Sherman will be more accurate, only Sherman was a nicer person.

    I bet one of TT´s great WR wont even make the roster.

    I bet that if you take DD and Jennings out of the equation and you add all the yards and TD that the the rest of the wr´s will get in the season they wont get as much as Moss by himself, I will even bet that allrady Moss has more TD and yards than the whole yards this guys will get together in their NFL careers.
     
  10. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    Somehow thats important. :thumbsup:
     
  11. gopackgo

    gopackgo Cheesehead

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    Not to mention they both have the same letter for their initials.
     
  12. kmac

    kmac Cheesehead

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    Once again, fantastic insight, Pyle. You should post more often.
     
  13. cheesey

    cheesey Cheesehead

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    The thing i like is, many of the guys that had to grow up like that appreciate where they are now alot more then some of the "silver spoon" guys.
    Look at how Driver reacted when he got the long term contract. And he has given his all ever since. He didn't just sit back and collect his dough.
    Hopefully this guy can be a gem like Driver.
     
  14. Pack93z

    Pack93z You retired too? .... Not me. I'm in my prime

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    A different look at Jones... becoming a personal favorite already :)

    http://www.madison.com/toolbox/inde...wsj/home/sports/index.php?ntid=132546&ntpid=1

    Don't ever let somebody tell you you can't do something. Not even me. You've got a dream? You've got to protect it. People can't do something themselves, they want to tell you you can't do it. You want something? Go get it. Period.

    - Chris Gardner (Will Smith), to his son Christopher, in "The Pursuit of Happyness"



    GREEN BAY - This is part of James Jones' life story. This part is called "Art Imitating Life."

    Last December, James was sitting on his couch with his girlfriend, Tamika Greer, at their apartment just off the San Jose State campus. It was the couple's regular "Movie Night" date, and James had borrowed from a buddy a bootleg copy of the Will Smith movie "The Pursuit of Happyness," which had just hit theaters. He knew very little about the plot.

    When it was over, he turned to Tamika, who had tears streaming down her face. Ever the tough guy, he asked her a question he already knew the answer to.

    "I look over to her, and I'm like, 'What are you crying for?' " the Green Bay Packers 23-year-old rookie wide receiver remembers. "And she's like, 'That's your life. That's the stuff you've been through. You've worked so hard to get where you have to get.' "

    Set in the early 1980's in San Francisco, less than an hour away from where James grew up, the film tells the inspired-by-a-true-story tale of Chris Gardner, a salesman determined to keep his struggling family afloat. When his girlfriend walks out on him, he's left to raise their 5-year-old son, Christopher, on his own, and when the money runs out, father and son are forced to sleep in homeless shelters and even behind the locked door of a subway station bathroom.

    Throughout the film, director Gabriele Muccino uses Smith's "This part of my life is called ..." voice-overs to tell Gardner's remarkable rags-to-riches story. Although the movie met with mixed reviews, Smith received a best-actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal, and the film - now available legally on DVD - has made $162 million to date.

    "It touched me, because the movie is about him working so hard to take care of his son," James says. "To see his drive and to see him work like that, that's how I was working to get to the point where I am now."

    At the moment he learns that his girlfriend is leaving him, Smith's voice narrates, "It was right then that I started thinking about Thomas Jefferson and the Declaration of Independence. And the part about our right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. And I remember thinking, how did he know to put the 'pursuit' part in there? That maybe happiness is only something we can only pursue. And maybe we can actually never have it, no matter what."

    This is the story of James Jones' pursuit of happiness - a pursuit, he will tell you, that is far from finished.



    This part of James Jones' life is called "Dreams."

    Janet Jones' son couldn't have been more than 3 years old the first time he picked up a football. And from that day on, it went everywhere with him.

    "He never put it down," she recalls.

    In Northern California in the '80s, the San Francisco 49ers were the only game in town. Quarterbacked by Joe Montana, they won four Super Bowl titles during the decade.

    "James used to see Joe Montana on the TV, and he told me he was going to be just like him," Janet says. "I knew my baby was going to make it, because in his heart, that was his dream. I knew he was going to do it."

    Says James, "I always had in my mind that one day I'd make it to the NFL. That was the drive I had. From playing Pop Warner football when I was a little kid, it was always my dream."

    Of course, plenty of kids have that same dream. Very few realize it. Even fewer overcome what James did to do so.



    This part of James Jones' life is called "The Hard Way."

    Janet and James' father, who's also named James, divorced when their son was 18 months old. Both of them got hooked on drugs, and by the time her little boy was 8, it'd cost Janet her job working for Hewlett Packard on the assembly line, which she'd done for more than a decade.

    While she managed to get odd jobs here and there - and James tried to chip in by selling candy on the street, "bringing my mom every last penny I made" - it wasn't enough to make ends meet. Eventually, Janet and her three kids - James, his older sister Desiree, and Janet's sister's daughter, Alexis - wound up on the street.

    "I felt bad. But I didn't have anywhere else to go," says Janet, who had taken Alexis in after her mother, Janet's sister, went to prison. "In the beginning, it was drugs. Then, I lost my job. Nobody wanted to help us, so that's how we had to live. I thank God for shelters, because they're really something that a person who don't have nowhere to go, they can call home. But it's not a place I wanted to be."

    And she wasn't the person she wanted to be. She remembers James finding her one day, passed out after a binge. James remembers, too.

    "I didn't know much as a little kid, but I knew drugs were bad," says James, who says he has never smoked a cigarette, never tried drugs and never drank alcohol because "I've seen what it does to lives."

    "I never saw her do it with my own eyes, so I have no clue what she was doing - whether it was weed, whether it was crack, whether it was a needle - but you can totally tell when somebody's on drugs. That day, she woke up and I looked at her and I'm like, 'Mom, you need to stop. You need to stop.' At that point, at 8 years old, I wished I could've grew up in like two weeks. But I couldn't."

    Janet says that day was her rock bottom. She vowed to get her life in order, but it took time. For the next four years or so, they were in and out of shelters - "They only give you three months to live in each shelter, and after that, you have to find somewhere else to go," she explains - as she struggled to turn things around. With every new shelter came a new school, so James attended "four or five elementary schools" before their lives stabilized enough that he could attend the same middle school.

    "Even though life was rough for me, I knew life could be better for him," Janet says. "Even though I was doing it, he really knew that drugs were not the way to go, just (from) seeing what it did to a person. I mean, I hit rock bottom when I lost my job and my home and had no place to live. That was rock bottom. At that point, my goal was to get him through school, to make him a man, to raise him the right way."



    This part of James Jones' life is called "Change for the better."

    Shortly before James was to start high school, his mother remarried, and his stepfather got a job in Sacramento, about two hours from San Jose. Rather than making him move, Janet let James stay with his paternal grandmother, Bernice Calhoun, so he could go to Gunderson High. (James has also reconciled with his father.)

    "It was hard for me. I didn't want to leave him," Janet says. "But he wanted to stay, so I let him. Now, I'm glad I did."

    James' grandma was tough ol' bird - "I wasn't afraid to hit him upside his head to do what was best for him," she says - and she forced him to keep up with his academics. In sports, James would go on to become a star at Gunderson, participating in basketball and track but excelling in football, where he was the league MVP as a senior while playing out of position at quarterback.

    Although Janet and her husband moved back to San Jose before James' junior year, he continued to live with his grandmother. Then, just as James was going through the college recruiting process, doctors discovered a 15-pound fibroid tumor - a non-cancerous growth that was "the size of a football," in Janet's words - in her uterus.

    While James said he had drawn interest from "dang near every school on the West Coast," he stayed home at San Jose State to be close to his mom.

    "That told me that my son really loves his momma," Janet said.

    During his first four college seasons, including a redshirt year in 2002, James did little to impress. But after catching a combined 56 passes for 603 yards and two touchdowns, Jones had a breakout year as a senior last year, catching 70 passes for 893 yards and 10 touchdowns.

    In the second game of the season, James' electrifying 42-yard touchdown run on a reverse gave the Spartans a 35-34 victory over Stanford and was No. 1 on SportsCenter's Top 10 plays that day. His NFL dream was starting to look more and more realistic.

    "I've been in this business 26 years and coached for another 12 before that. That's a lot of years being around kids," said Jones' agent, Frank Bauer, who first spotted Jones while attending San Jose State's Sept. 23 game against Cal-Poly with former NFL coach Steve Mariucci. (Mariucci's son, Tyler, plays for Cal-Poly.) "You can see it in a kid's eyes the first time you meet him and you shake his hand. You know which kids are the good kids and which kids have their head up their (expletive).

    "I lucked out. As a person, he's probably one of the nicest men you'll ever be around. Just a sweetheart of a man. There's a lot of kids that get caught up with 'The Street.' This kid had a vision that he was going to pull himself up - no matter what pulled him down, he was going to pull himself up. I was so excited when he got drafted. If anybody deserved it, it was this kid."



    This part of James Jones' life is called "Happiness."

    Last weekend, James gathered with his family and friends in his apartment to watch the NFL draft. Projections had him going anywhere from the fourth round to undrafted, so when the Packers called midway through the third round, on the clock at No. 78 overall, well, you could say it was a bit of a surprise.

    "When his name popped up on the screen, I was just screaming and yelling," Janet says. "I don't think it's hit me yet. I'm still numb."

    Even more amazing? The Packers liked James so much that, rather than using the pick to trade for Oakland Raiders wide receiver Randy Moss, they kept it and drafted him. While they chose him based on what he did on the field, knowing how hard he'd worked to overcome obstacles off the field played a role, too.

    "I've seen young men come into this league from very difficult, difficult circumstances," Packers general manager Ted Thompson says. "From a personal standpoint, those situations cause me to think about if I could have fared as well as some of these guys. Which I don't think I could have.

    "There are lots of stories, unfortunately too many, like James'. But when they come out the other side, it has a lifelong effect on these young men, and in a positive way, because of the good they glean from it. James seems to be a very, very grounded person. He seems very mature, knows exactly what he wants. He's very grateful, even going through those experiences. He's a very impressive young man."

    And in a matter of months, James will have more money than he could have ever imagined. Last year, the Packers picked guard Jason Spitz at roughly the same spot in the draft (No. 75), and Spitz wound up signing a four-year contract worth roughly $2.35 million, including an up-front signing bonus of $742,250.

    James, though, says he's more focused on another life-changing day: May 26, when he receives his sociology degree.

    "I'm the first one out of my family to graduate from college," he says proudly. As for what he'll buy his mother with his first big paycheck, he simply smiles. "Whatever she wants."



    This part of James Jones' life is called "Just the Beginning."

    The Packers' three-day rookie orientation camp, which wraps up today, wasn't involved enough to make any real judgments about James' NFL potential. But at 6-foot-1 and 207 pounds, he definitely looks the part, and coach Mike McCarthy could see glimpses of how his difficult past drives him.

    "I'll say this: He's a hungry individual," McCarthy says. "You watch the way he plays, he's extremely physical, the way he goes after the ball when he competes. If that's where that came from, he definitely has it."

    Still, given his inexperience and the Packers' logjam at receiver, James may not contribute much this season.

    "To sit here and say he's going to play right away, that may be a reach. To sit here and say he's two years away, that might not be accurate, either," offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said. "We've got to see how he matches up with our defensive backs and how he matches up with the other guys on the roster."

    The smart money says not to bet against him, given what he's been through and his perspective on where life has taken him.

    "To make it this far and to be here is definitely a dream. But now is just the start," James says. "I don't want to be just, 'James Jones, third-round draft pick who overcame these things.' I want to be a great player. For that to happen, I've got to work hard. All that stuff, it's in the past.

    "Yeah, it was a rough childhood. But as I look back on my life story, I'm glad I went through it. I don't want no one else to go through it, but I'm glad I went through it.

    "Nobody wants to do it, but I believed in my mom and I knew, believing in God, that everything would work out. Sometimes you go through the day and you don't eat, sometimes you go through the day and you can barely sleep. But those were the things that were happening at that time, and I had to handle them. My faith in God got me through it, and I just kept my focus on football, and now, I'm here.

    "It drives me every day. I've always got that in the back of my mind, where I came from. Wherever they put me, I'm going to do my best. And wherever that takes me, it takes me."
     
  15. yooperfan

    yooperfan Cheesehead

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    Hopefully this young mans NFL dream comes true with the Green Bay Packers.
    This is the kind of kid I can't help but root for to make it big.
     
  16. tromadz

    tromadz Cheesehead

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    How can you not root for him?
     
  17. Oannes

    Oannes Cheesehead

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    Terrence Murphy was Donald Driver II.... Greg Jennings was Donald Driver II...now it's James "Round 3 Tragedy" Jones getting compared to him.

    Bob McGinn's article in today's JSOnline compares him to Sterling Sharpe.

    We don't need another Donald Driver. Don't get me wrong. I love DD. He's a heckuva character guy and lays it all out on the field. We just need someone who has a better skill set and has Donald's same intangibles.

    One thing the Packers are pretty good at, of late, is drafting WR's. I hope he exceeds everyone's expectations. Unfortunately, a lot of folks, me included, are always going to compare his production to what Randy Moss's potentially could have been.

    From McGinn at JSOnline.com....

    "I had him in the fourth but only because of his speed," (Jim not Jon) Gruden said. "He kind of reminded me really of a young Sterling Sharpe. I hate to say that because I thought Sterling was great, but he's built like that. Real strong, physical kid. I think Green Bay got a good player, especially for the bad weather. I will be shocked if he's not."

    Sharpe measured 5 feet 11 1/4 inches, weighed 201 at the combine in 1988 and ran 40 yards in 4.54 and 4.49, according to the National and Blesto combines.

    Jones, 6-0 3/4 and 210, ran 4.54 at the combine in February.

    The players that Jones has been told by Packers' coaches and scouts that he reminds them of are Arizona's Anquan Boldin (6-0 1/2, 215, 4.67) and Pittsburgh's Hines Ward (5-11 1/2, 215, 4.55).

    "Jimmy Robinson told me that I reminded him of Anquan Boldin," said Jones, referring to the Packers' wide receivers coach. "But I'm not going to worry about playing like Anquan Boldin or Hines Ward. I'm going to play like James Jones."
     
  18. retiredgrampa

    retiredgrampa Cheesehead

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    One can only imagine the joy he and his family must have felt when his name came up on national TV. Whether he succeeds or not in the NFL, at least he'll have enough money to feed his family for a while. No more hungry days. He was my BIG question mark in the draft but now I'll be following his progress with great interest. At the very least, we won't be worried about his ever using booze or drugs to make it through the day. No crutches for him.
     

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