Just a few weeks ago, wide receiver Tiger Jones already had a roster spot for a Philadelphia football team.
He played for the Soul in the Arena Football League. Jones not only played for the Soul, but he was a superstar, leading the AFL in receiving yards. He won the AFL Receiver of the Year award in 2011.
Now he hopes to play for another Philadelphia football team, the Eagles.
Like many players at Training Camp, Jones is relishing his opportunity to prove that he can play in the National Football League. He's hoping that he can make the most of this opportunity and eventually play on Sundays for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite the stardom and success in the AFL, the chance to move from the AFL to the NFL was a no-brainer. Making the decision to leave the Philadelphia Soul to pursue a chance to play in the NFL was something that Jones knew had to be done.
"To leave those guys right before playoffs was obviously a bittersweet situation, but an opportunity like this, you can't pass up," Jones said.
His decision was made easier with the support from his teammates, coaches and front office staff at the Soul, along with the fact that he would be staying in Philadelphia.
"It wasn't a hard decision. Everyone over there was behind me 100 percent," Jones said. "From top to bottom they were like, 'Yeah we want you to go and do your thing, and it sucks that you're leaving us but we fully understand what you've got to do.' Everybody being behind me made the decision much easier.
"I love Philly. Philly fans are just wild. It's a crazy atmosphere, and you love it when you're playing for them."
When asked if he had ever given up on his goal of playing in the NFL, Jones replied, "I wouldn't say gave up. You come into any season that you're in, you have your team goals, you have your individual goals, knowing that an opportunity like this, whether it's the CFL the NFL, the UFL, it's a possibility afterwards. So you have that mindset and you just work towards it."
Now that he has his chance, he will try to make the most of it. Senior offensive assistant/wide receivers coach David Culley said that Jones will get an opportunity. He explained that Jones will learn whether or not he can play at the NFL level.
"Andy (Reid)'s always been great about when we bring guys in here, we will know if they have a chance," Culley said.
Culley described the 5-11, 184-pound Jones as quick and very good with the ball in his hands, saying, "The first guy usually wasn't going to make the tackle on him."
His physical skill and experience (he is 30 years old) will help Jones in his quest to make the team. Looking at the roster and counting the number of spots open will not.
"When you start looking at numbers, then you can't focus and concentrate on giving yourself the best chance, and the minute you do that, it becomes a distraction," Culley said. "It's human nature to do it, but you've got an opportunity. What's the best way to take advantage of that opportunity? Well when you come to practice, you better practice as if you think you're the guy."
Jones knows the odds are not in his favor. Having only gotten his playbook last night and with talented depth already at the position, it definitely is a long shot. But all he can ask for is an opportunity. He says that he just needs to play hard and go fast.
"It's a long shot, but I'm not the only one taking that long shot," Jones said.
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