Basketball gives Jason Jones a jump into power football
ERIC D. WILLIAMS
RENTON – For Detroit native Jason Jones, basketball was his first love. But football served as his ticket to the big stage.
“Oh yeah, I was hoops,” Jones said. “I grew up — my dad grew up watching Michael Jordan, so watching M.J. all the time. I grew up with the ‘Bad Boys,’ the Pistons, Isiah Thomas and all those guys.”
As a 6-foot-5 power forward at Lathrup High, Jones averaged 24 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
But he had an easy decision to make when the only scholarship offer he received was for a full-ride in football at Eastern Michigan after he turned out his junior year.
“When I was presented with a scholarship, I think it was a no-brainer for me,” Jones said. “I was back home at Eastern Michigan – only 30 minutes from where I lived – so it made sense to me and I had a free education.”
Jones tried to play tight end for the Eagles, but quickly realized he would not be the next Tony Gonzalez or Antonio Gates.
“My issue was staying on my feet,” he said. “I could catch the ball but I couldn’t get the yards afterward. No YAC (yards after catch).”
So he switched to defensive end, packed some more muscle on his 230-pound frame and a pass rusher was born.
Jones quickly learned how to use his hoop skills to become a disrupting force on defense, finishing his career with 14 sacks and second in school history with 50 tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
Jones was drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL draft (No. 54 overall) by the Titans, where he totaled 151/2 sacks in four seasons while being used as defensive tackle and defensive end.
Jones signed a one-year deal with Seattle because he wants to re-establish his market value after moving to his more comfortable role as a pass-rushing defensive tackle.
Now, at 6-5 and 276 pounds, Jones said he’s looking to emerge as a player who can help Seattle create more sacks in passing situations, subbing for Red Bryant at defensive end or Alan Branch at defensive tackle.
“I love everything about Jason Jones,” Bryant said. “He’s quick, extremely fast. I could see why they went out in free agency and really got after him.
“He does a great job of getting off the ball. He’s a lot longer – he’s about as tall or might even be taller than me, so I could see how he could cause a lot of confusion and he’s a lot smaller and quicker than I am. So it’s definitely going to be intriguing once we get in our different packages, as far as our ‘Bandit’ look and things like that. It’s going to bring a different dynamic to our football team.”
BANKS GETS TRYOUT
The Seahawks confirmed that they will work out Brian Banks, a heavily recruited linebacker out of Southern California who was exonerated of rape and kidnapping charges last week after serving more than five years in jail.
“This is what I have dreamed about my entire life,” Banks said in a prepared statement. “I am ready to show the NFL what I am capable of doing. I want as many opportunities with as many NFL teams who are willing to give me a shot.”
Banks, 26, pleaded no contest 10 years ago on the advice of a lawyer after a childhood friend accused him of attacking her on their high school campus.
Before his ordeal, Banks starred at Long Beach Polytechnic High School, attracting interest from elite college football programs USC, Ohio State and Michigan. Bates gave a verbal commitment to USC to play for Pete Carroll.
According to a release from his attorney, Seattle is one of six teams that have contacted Banks about a possible tryout. An ESPN report said Kansas City, Miami and Washington were other interested teams.
JACKSON’S TURN AT QB
Incumbent starter Tarvaris Jackson took the opening snaps with the first unit Wednesday as Carroll continues to stay true to his word in rotating Jackson, Matt Flynn and Russell Wilson with the first unit.
A popular target for the three quarterbacks was recent addition Kellen Winslow, who looked fast during team drills and caught everything thrown to him.
Carroll said he will not put a timetable on the starting quarterback decision, although a reasonable expectation might be by Seattle’s third exhibition game on the road against Kansas City on Aug. 24, which traditionally serves as a dress rehearsal for the regular-season opener.
Seattle center Max Unger said the coaching staff has done a nice job of clustering the reps for each quarterback so each set of offensive linemen don’t have to worry about a quarterback with a different cadence rotating in for each rep of practice.
“One quarterback of the three kind of goes with one group at a time,” Unger said. “So you kind of get used to one guy at the beginning of practice and take snaps with that guy, and not switching every other play like we’ve done in the past.
“So you kind of get a feel for them as the practice goes on, which is nice because you’re not switching halfway through drives.”
CLEMONS A NO-SHOW
Veteran defensive end Chris Clemons once again was not present for Wednesday’s voluntary workout session open to reporters. Clemons was also not present last week for the practice reporters were allowed to watch.
Clemons, who turns 31 on Oct. 30, is in the final year of his contract and scheduled to make $4 million in base salary this season. The University of Georgia product has led Seattle in sacks the past two seasons, totaling 11 each year.
Receiver Golden Tate had his right hand in a soft cast and did not practice Wednesday, but he’s expected to be healed in time for training camp. Others who did not practice include receivers Charly Martin and Mike Williams, cornerback Byron Maxwell, safety Jeron Johnson, and linebackers Malcolm Smith, Allen Bradford and Barrett Ruud.
Along with Clemons, rookie receiver Lavasier Tuinei and defensive lineman Monte Taylor were not in attendance.
About 100 soldiers from Joint Base Lewis-McCord watched practice Wednesday. The Cherokee Troop 2-1 Cavalry/4th Stryker Brigade will be deploying to Afghanistan in the coming months.
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