Jones joined the team on Thursday morning and took batting practice during the Patriots workout before their scheduled game against the Camden Riversharks. He will be with the team for the next few days of Spring Training.
Jones played for the Buffalo Bills for three seasons from 2010-2012. In his rookie season, Jones had 18 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown in 15 games, including five starts. During his three years with the Bills he had 82 catches for 887 yards and six touchdowns in 35 games. He was placed on Buffalo’s reserve/non-football illness list in December of 2012 and eventually released by the team due to an auto-immune disease affecting his kidneys known as IgA nephropathy.
Jones was first diagnosed with the disease during his sophomore year at Lackawanna Community College in Scranton, PA. He continued playing for two more years at Youngstown State in hopes of signing with an NFL team and the Bills brought him on board as an undrafted rookie in 2010.
After his release from the Bills, Jones signed with the New England Patriots in February of 2013, but the severity of his kidney condition forced him to retire. His kidney functions had deteriorated to a point where he would have to have a transplant or dialysis.
He had a kidney transplant in December 2013 thanks to his father being a matching donor and giving a kidney to Jones.
Now Jones is looking to make a return to the baseball diamond, where he last played for Plainfield High School.
“My love of baseball started back when I was little. I played Little League and I played all the way through high school. But I just loved the football atmosphere, so I really stuck with football. Plus, it was a faster route to the NFL than baseball would have been getting to the big leagues. I liked scoring touchdowns and I liked dancing in the end zone, so I stuck with it. But I always loved baseball,” Jones told Mike Ashmore of the Courier News, Home News Tribune, and MyCentralJersey.com in an exclusive interview.
The 2014 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford begins at home on Friday, April 25th at TD Bank Ballpark with a 7:05 pm game against the Long Island Ducks. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.