Thursday, January 15, 2015

Wise beyond his years

Cardale Jones is a remarkable young man.

Anyone who follows college football knows the Ohio State quarterback played remarkably well as he led the Buckeyes to the first-ever College Football Championship title.

But his decision Thursday to return to OSU rather than declare for the National Football League draft was as much a victory for education as it was a victory for the Buckeyes’ football program next season. In many ways, it was even bigger for education.

“I’m going to return next year for school,” he simply told a national television audience and those who gathered at Ginn Academy in Cleveland for the news conference. The reason? He wants to graduate before heading out into the world.

How refreshing.

Most – if not all – of the pro football world wondered exactly where Jones would be selected in April’s college draft, never for a moment factoring in the possibility he might just stay in school.

“My education will take me 10 times farther that my athletic ability,” said Jones, who called his decision easy and wondered why everyone was making such a big deal about it.

After knocking off Oregon in the national title game, he as much as said after the game that he wasn’t ready for the NFL. No one took him seriously. He made it clear education came first, then football.

“Football to me is a stepping stone for my education,” he said. “Being a first-round draft pick means nothing to me without my education.” The room at Ginn Academy applauded proudly. And then Jones added, “Anything else?”

Again, how refreshing.

In this day and age where college football is nothing more than a feeder farm for the NFL and a vast majority of the athletes do not graduate and cant wait to get out of school, what Jones did struck a blow for the reason most kids go to college.

It was a great statement and message for the young people who either watched the news conference on television or will read about it and heard about it for at least the next few days.

Tedy Bruschi, commenting on ESPN, went one step further. “That was great for American kids to see,” he said, hoping his children were watching.

Jones said that in the wake of his brilliant trio of games, he understood the hype surrounding the possibility he might turn pro. “I got (the hype) in the beginning,” he said. “I never fed into it. I never let it get to me. I’ve got to think about the long-term jeopardy.”

He understands that when plans for the 2015 season are laid by the Ohio State coaching staff, he will have to compete all over again for the starting spot. “Next year, in my opinion, can be a lot better,” he said.

If that is case, the competition at quarterback in spring football at OSU will be arguably the most interesting story in college football with Jones battling Braxton Miller (if he returns) and J. T Barrett, who should be fully recovered from the broken ankle suffered in the season-ending victory against Michigan.

The incredible three games Jones crafted to gain the attention of the entire collegiate football world should be a non-factor in that competition if coach Urban Meyer keeps his promise of keeping it open.

But you have to figure Meyer will never forget what Jones did to help him win his third national championship and the circumstances under which he accomplished the feat.

Maybe that’s what Jones factored in when he made his decision, not to mention that by coming out now, he had to know his education as a pro would be long term by whoever drafted him because of his brief college resume.

By staying in school, he gives himself an opportunity to continue building on what he did at the end of this season and at the same time complete his education.

“My football and career window is so short,” said Jones, who has designs on becoming a financial planner. “I have my whole life to live and that is where I think my education will come in handy.”

This from a kid who in October 2012 tweeted “Why should we have to go to class if we came here to play FOOTBALL, we ain’t come to play SCHOOL classes are POINTLESS.”

Quite a comeback.

What the nation saw Thursday was a young man whose head is screwed on right. He is fortunate to have a support group pointing him in the proper direction.

The best ending to this story would be if Jones wins that competition in Columbus in spring, leads the Buckeyes to at least to another shot at the national title and is a first-round selection in the 2016 NFL draft.

In the end, though, education is the big winner. And there ain’t nothing pointless about that.

How refreshing.


  1. Sorta renews your faith in these guys. Too bad Manziel didn't feel the same way.

    1. Ripping on Manziel are we? Behave yourself.

    2. He's just too "rippable". Now he's hanging out in Aspen with Josh Gordon. Birds of a feather?

  2. How do you know they are hanging out together in Aspen? Where did you get that little nugget? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Your favorite rag/hack: PD MKC 1/16/2014 "Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon, both of whom are character concerns for the Browns, have struck up a friendship and are hanging out together in Aspen, Colo."

  3. Why do you even read her stuff if you consider it the next best thing to drivel? If you are moved to complain about their work, do yourself a favor and stop reading her; stop reading Tony. Why torture yourself?

    When I typed my response above, I knew exactly where you got that item. All she did was report what someone else reported and gave that someone proper credit. There's nothing wrong with that except it had nothing to do with football.

    Manziel and Gordon have become magnets for off-the-field shenanigans and some readers can't get enough of that stuff. Tabloid journalism? Probably. But that's what it has evolved into. It's TMZ in ink. Live with it because it's not going away

    1. I don't read her, it was a headline on the website. I've stopped reading Grossi(his headline today is that the Browns look foolish letting Shanahan go to "greener pastures"). If Grossi thinks Shanahan is that good, he doesn't belong in sports reporting. The only time our offense operated successfully was when Hoyer called his own plays in the hurry up mode.

  4. Just because you don't agree with him doesn't mean he is wrong. And the Browns do look foolish because Shanahan had two years remaining on his contract and the Browns let him out of it. He wanted out of Cleveland in the worst way and they kowtowed to him. That's looking foolish. And I'd say Atlanta is greener pasture with Matt Ryan and a pretty solid group of receivers down there.

    As for Hoyer, are you saying Shanahan deliberately sabotaged his own offense by prohibiting his quarterback from running an uptempo offense? Really?

    I have some news for you. The Browns did not totally abandon the no-huddle approach in the second half of the season. The ran it from time to time depending on the situation (usually after converting a third down, which wasn't very often).

    The reason the Cleveland offense went sour was because opposing teams stacked the box and dared Hoyer to throw the ball. In doing so, they basically shut down the running game and forced Hoyer to beat them. He couldn't because he wasn't good enough.

    Now factor in the loss of Alex Mack in game 5 and you have another reason the offense crapped out the second half of the season. If he doesn't go down, there's no telling how the club would have finished. He is their best offensive lineman (yes, better than Joe Thomas).

    And by the way,Tony doesn't write the headline. He produces the copy and someone else writes the head.

    1. It's a sad day when the loss of one man destroys your offense(if that's what you really believe). I didn't say they abandoned the no-huddle, I said that's the only time the offense looked good, when Shanahan wasn't calling the plays. I know you're anxious to defend Cleveland's two prime time hacks, but please don't twist my words. As for Shanahan, his inability to adapt/adjust will doom him in Atlanta too, but we can only wait for that. Why in the hell would we want to keep a coach who didn't want to be here? Continuity for the sake of mediocrity seems to be the theme these days.

  5. That was not the only time the offense looked good. It also looked pretty good in the first five games and in that Thursday night game in Cincinnati. As for the no-huddle offense, those were Shanahan's plays they were running.

    Deriding journalists naturally triggers my defense mechanism. I know these two people and believe they are hard-working journalists who perform their jobs in a professional manner.

    I repeat: Just because you do not agree with them or like their styles does not mean they are hacks. I worked long enough in the business to know a hack when I saw one and these two are nowhere close to that. I'm guessing you do not consider journos you agree with as hacks.

    You have no idea what it takes to be a working journalist these days. And until you walk a mile in their shoes, you will continue to have no clue.

    You can sit there all day and take pot shots at them. But I can tell you this: They really don't care what you think. If they did, they wouldn't last long in the business. Their skin is a lot thicker than you think.

    Getting back to Shanahan, you ask why would the Browns want to keep a coach who didn't want to be there? Wrong question. It should be: Why did he want to get out of his contract in the first place? When we get the answer to that one, you might have a better understanding of the situation.

  6. Sauce for the goose....Grossi and MKC have no clue what it takes to run an NFL team on a day to day basis, ergo, until they "walk a mile in those shoes" they should quit flaming the FO over every decision.

  7. No, they don't flame the Browns over every decision. Just certain ones. You read them (even though you say you don't) with extremely prejudiced eyes.

    I flame the Browns, too. In fact, I do so a lot more than they do. Do I not have a clue? Do you have a clue? No. None of us really do.

    But I can tell you this without any equivocation: The front office of the Browns has been a joke for the last 16 years. All you have to do is look at their won-lost record for proof.

    As for having a clue for running an NFL team on a day-to-day basis, I wouldn't put the Browns FO in that group. They haven't earned it.