New York Giants: Chad Jones
"He appreciates all of the support from the Giants and their fans," said John Moran, the Southern Orthopaedic Specialists physical therapist who helped Jones walk and run again. "He gave 100-percent to football for over two years to reach his goal of returning to football. He is fortunate to have the athletic ability and skill set to perform in the MLB.
"His heart was and probably always will be in football," Moran added in a text message, confirming a report by New Orleans' WDSU TV that Jones was switching to baseball. "But he knew it was time to transition to baseball as a pitcher and/or outfielder."
Jones nearly died in a single-automobile crash in New Orleans in late June of 2010, just a few months after the Giants drafted him in the third round out of LSU. The axle of his SUV snapped and mangled his leg. Doctors scrambled to save Jones' foot and leg during 10 hours of surgery.
Jones has had over a dozen surgeries and has a metal rod through his shin, with two screws near his ankle and two screws under his kneecap.
Jones was a two-sport star at LSU, where he was a safety and electric returner who also pitched and played in the outfield for the baseball team.
The Houston Astros selected Jones in the 13th round of the 2007 baseball draft but the LSU star opted to play football.
Despite the life-threatening accident, Jones still fought vigorously hard to walk and then run again in an effort to return to football. He joined the Giants, who supported Jones during his recovery and comeback, to stand on the sidelines of their game at New Orleans in 2011. During his comeback, he was clocked running 40-yard dashes at 4.84 and 4.9 seconds in October of 2011 as he kept trying to inch his way back.
But Jones experienced a minor setback and failed a physical and was waived by the Giants in May of 2012.
He visited with the Saints and worked out for them earlier this year. But he began to turn his focus to baseball soon after and has been pitching for a few months now according to Moran.
"[The Saints] were impressed with how far he has come," Moran said. "[But] it was a pivotal point in his decision to move on to baseball."
It's that time of the year when the Giants travel all around the country to attend pro days and scout college prospects.
Today, GM Jerry Reese is at LSU's pro day, according to my man Mike Triplett, who covers the Saints for the New Orleans Times-Picayune.
The Giants like their LSU guys, as Reese has drafted two Tigers high in his past three drafts, taking wide receiver Rueben Randle in the second round last year and safety Chad Jones in the third round in 2010.
The Giants also drafted cornerback Corey Webster in the second round in 2005 and had former LSU quarterback Ryan Perrilloux floating on and off their practice squad in 2011 and in camp last year.
Thomas McGaughey, LSU's special teams coordinator, also was an assistant on Tom Coughlin's staff.
So let's take a look at who the Giants could have an eye on at LSU's pro day:
DE/LB Barkevious Mingo: Expected to be gone by the time the Giants pick at 19.
DE Sam Montgomery: Scouts Inc. has Montgomery rated as the 30th-best prospect, so perhaps a second-round consideration if he's there for the Giants that late.
LB Kevin Minter: Mel Kiper has Minter rated as the fourth-best inside linebacker.
S Eric Reid: Giants like Reid and can use a safety for the future with Antrel Rolle under contract for only two more years and Stevie Brown with the team on a one-year RFA tender.
DT Bennie Logan: Rated the 11th-best defensive tackle by Scouts Inc.
CB Tyrann Mathieu: Intriguing talent, but this risk-reward comes with baggage. Giants do have a veteran locker room and Webster to mentor Mathieu.
Tell us which Tiger you are hoping the Giants are looking hard at below.
But nothing could wipe the smile off his face. The New York Giants safety is attempting to make a comeback after having his left leg mangled in a car accident during the summer of 2010.
He underwent numerous surgeries to save his left leg and foot, and now he's hoping to make his comeback this summer at training camp. Being with his teammates at the Giants' first OTA of the offseason is another positive step.
"It definitely feels good breathing that New York Giants air up," Jones said.
Jones, whose jersey number is now 43, has done some jogging, light running, backpedaling and lateral drills while continuing to rehab his leg under the Giants' supervision this week.
While he hasn't done much more than a rehabbing player on injured reserve might do at this time of the year, Jones has still impressed and inspired his teammates.
The safety has noticed teammates watching him on the field and in the weight room.
"It is inspiring man," said cornerback Terrell Thomas, who is rebounding from a torn ACL injury suffered last preseason. "It really is. Look at me, I am nothing compared to him. This guy [nearly] had his leg amputated and for him to be running around, the Giants giving him another shot, it shows so much respect that the Giants organization has for him and how much hard work he has put in to get to this stage."
General manager Jerry Reese, though, warns that the 2010 third-round pick out LSU still has a long road back before he can accomplish his dream of playing pro football.
"Personally, I think he has a long ways to go," Reese said. "He is rehabbing. If you see him on the field, you will see him rehabbing more than in drills with what the players are doing in OTAs. We wanted to get him in here and have our doctors see him, have our trainers put their hands on him, evaluate him and see where he is.
"I still think he has a ways to go before he gets out there and plays in the National Football League."
Jones acknowledges as much, and he understands how far he has come and how much further he has to go. Jones says conditioning is his biggest challenge right now since his leg, hamstrings and quads all get a little sore.
"From Day 1, doctors were saying that I wasn't even going to be able to walk again and that I was lucky that they were able to save my leg and the foot," Jones said. "I actually remember everything vividly [from the accident]. I definitely will never forget a lot of ups and downs, from waking up that next morning, to the whole long process of me rehabbing, to the first day I got out of a boot, to the first day of me putting pressure on my leg, to the first day I got a shoe until now."
Players like Jones and Thomas, who are injured and have been out for the season, flew into town late in the week to join the team. Back in Super Bowl XLII, injured players like Mathias Kiwanuka, who had been on injured reserve, were in attendance at the Super Bowl.
Jones, the team's third-round pick in 2010, is still making his way back from a gruesome car accident that nearly killed him on June 25, 2010.
He has been making impressive progress and plans on making his comeback this year. The Giants organization has supported Jones throughout his comeback and retained him on the reserve/non-football injury list.
Thomas has been on injured reserve since the preseason when he suffered a season-ending knee injury. He has been rehabbing and hopes to re-sign with the Giants. His contract expires at the end of this season. A source expects the productive cornerback to return.
Running on a track at St. Martin's Episcopal School in Metairie (La.), Jones was clocked running a 4.84 and a 4.90 according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Watch this video courtesy of the Times-Picayune.
"Today was a great day," Jones told reporters after the sprint. "Had a lot of support from friends and family and fans. I kind of exceeded what I was going to do in my head in running a 4.84. I am pretty glad about my time even though I got about six more months of rehab. Things look good right now."
"I won't say I'm satisfied," he continued. "The short-term goal, today, yeah, I'm very satisfied. But my long-term goal is to be on the field to be a New York Giant in full uniform. I'm still hungry and still trying to fight to the final goal which is being a New York Giant full-time football player."
Jones, the Giants' third-round pick in 2010 out of LSU, nearly died in a car accident last summer and has had a long, grueling rehab.
The safety's goal is to make his comeback next year at training camp.
Giants safety Chad Jones continues his road to recovery following his devastating car crash in 2010.
Jones' physical trainer, John Moran, says the safety is training five-to-six days a week with Moran, a strength coach, and a track/speed coach. Jones is doing 10-yard sprints and moderately-paced 30-yard runs.
"The plan is to clock Chad's first 40-yard dash on his 23rd birthday (Oct. 5)," Moran said. "He looks amazing! Trying to get Chad to lead the Giants out onto the field in New Orleans in November when the Giants play the Saints."
Jones recently visited Giants camp with his girlfriend, Jade, and received a round of applause from his teammates. Jones hopes to make his comeback on a football field next year.
The last thing Giants coach Tom Coughlin told his players on the final day of the team’s mandatory minicamp was to be safe, and stay out of the headlines. It seemed a serious note of caution given the light atmosphere in the locker room on the final day of drills, and players wasted no time gathering their belongings and heading out.
Those words don’t seem so misplaced in light of a serious car accident that has doctors reportedly fighting to save rookie Chad Jones' leg. The team is gathering information, but players are sending out wishes and prayers for Jones via Twitter.
“Thoughts n prayers go out to my new teammate chad jones,” Steve Smith wrote on his account.
“Pray for my teammate,” wrote Terrell Thomas.
“Just waking up from my nap and reading about Chad (Jones) :-( Our prayers are with him and his family!” wrote Sanya Richardson, the Olympic runner married to Aaron Ross.
Jones was to attend the rookie symposium this weekend in Carlsbad, Calif., and NFL Players Association assistant director of external affairs George Atallah said, “On the eve of the Rookie Symposium in California, NYG rookie Chad Jones fights for his life. Send thoughts and prayers.”
When Coughlin said what he did about being safe, it was in the wake of a motorcycle accident that injured Mathias Kiwanuka's brother. Although Coughlin didn’t specifically mention that, it was part of the subtext.
“What you talk about here is when you make a choice make sure it is in the best interest of you and your family,” Coughlin said that day. “And always make sure that whatever you decide to do, don’t do anything that you wouldn’t be proud of if it was on the front page.”
Just a few seconds later Coughlin was asked about the rookies, and he mentioned Jones specifically.
“I think right at the end of the OTA's he was starting to emerge and doing things very well on special teams and in the secondary,” Coughlin said.
Today, plenty of Giants and NFL officials are hoping Jones gets back on the field at the team’s practice facility, and that doctors can save his leg.
And his professional career.