Ed (Too Tall) Jones would have made a great blocker for the United States Olympic volleyball team.
In his last nine NFL seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, the 6-9 Jones has batted down 73 passes from his left defensive end post.
On three occasions, including Danny Noonan’s 17-yard return in a 26-20 victory over Atlanta on Sunday, the blocks have been returned for touchdowns.
Jones, a first-round draft pick in 1974, has never had the pleasure of catching one and returning it himself although he came close against the Falcons.
Jones, Dallas’ defensive co-captain, batted Chris Miller’s pass into the air but Jones couldn’t quite catch it before it hit the artificial turf.
“That would be the ultimate wouldn’t it?” Jones said. “I’ve hit all those passes into the air yet I haven’t returned one for a touchdown myself. It’s kind of ironic.”
His teammates kid him that he would be too slow to score anyway.
Jim Jeffcoat, the right defensive end, has returned two of Jones’ tipped passes for scores, both of them against the New York Giants.
“Oh, Ed doesn’t have the speed to score on one of those that’s why he should leave it to me,” Jeffcoat said.
Jones is the Cowboys’ “iron man.” He has never missed a game in his 14-year career.
When he lines up against New Orleans Monday night, it will be his 197th consecutive game.
“I just have a physical structure that lets me come back from injury,” Jones said. “I just have a body chemistry that lets me take punishment and shake it off.”
Somehow his body and his legs have been able to hold up to the pounding. The 35-year-old Jones has a career 99 1/2 sacks to prove his mobility, and talent.
“Some of them take shots at my legs but I just dance around them,” said Jones, who once unsuccessfully tried professional boxing as a career.
How long can old bones Jones keep going?
“I feel great but you never know how much longer you can go,” he said. “I get excited more now than I did when I was 25-years old looking forward to game day Sundays.
“It will get to the point some year where I don’t want to go to training camp anymore and that will be it. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened yet.”
Dallas coach Tom Landry said Jones might outlast him.
“Ed is an exceptional athlete,” Landry said. “Age is no deterrent for him.
“I don’t know how much longer he will last. I guess he’ll last as long as he wants to.”