Packeres RB Aaron Jones' Tribute to His Father a Moving Moment

Packers running back Aaron Jones had a big game last Monday against the Detroit Lions. The former UTEP star scored four touchdowns, tying his career high, in the Packers 35-17 victory at Lambeau Field.

Jones was the focal point of the Packers offense from the opening drive. He carried the ball on each of the game’s first three plays and had six carries for 30 yards on the drive and then caught a four-yard touchdown pass that tied the score at 7-7.

But there was more to the game for Jones than just the final score. The fifth-year pro was playing his first game in front of a home crowd without his father, Alvin Jones, Sr., in attendance. Jones’ father passed away in April at the age of 57 due to complications from Covid-19. Before his death, the older Jones always attended his son’s games at Lambeau Field.

The Packers star running back was always close to his father and his absence was clearly felt leading up to the home opener. He also had several members of his family in attendance against the Lions including his mother, his brother and his son, Aaron Jr.

Jones was wearing a necklace with some of his father’s ashes in them on Monday but during the game, the necklace fell off and was lost. It was last seen in the end zone after Jones scored one of his four touchdowns.

Three of Jones’ four scores were touchdown catches making him the first Packers running back to catch three touchdown passes in a game since Andy Uram in 1942. The three touchdown receptions also matched Jones’ career high for an entire season, set in 2019.

“If there was any place to lose it, that’s where my dad would’ve wanted me to lose it,” Jones told reporters after the game. “So, I know he’s smiling.”

The necklace with the ashes didn’t stay missing for long. Packers head athletic trainer Bryan “Flea” Engel searched for it on the field after the game and finally found it at about 1:45 AM. He was able to return the football shaped pendant with the ashes inside to Jones.

Packers head coach Matt LaFleur was touched by the episode. “It says a lot about Aaron Jones, but I think it also says a lot about Flea and what kind of guy he is,” LaFleur said on. “[Flea] means so much to us – both of those guys do – and obviously I think Aaron being in the stadium for the first time without his father, that was a pretty big deal and for him to go out there and perform and have four touchdowns, I think that was a pretty big moment for him.”

Wide receiver Davante Adams realizes that Jones’ ability to be a weapon as a receiver makes him even more dangerous for opposing defenses. “He's a really versatile player with great hands,” Adams said. “He makes it tough on defenses. You don't really know what to do as a D-coordinator. I'm just glad I'm a wideout and I don't have the job of dealing with a team like us that has a running back that can go catch three touchdowns in a game.”

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers felt for his teammate. “He's been through a lot,” Rodgers explained when asked about Jones. “He’s a great human being. He adds a lot to our team as just a player. He's an exceptional player. I was teasing him in training camp when he missed a few days in a row. It's just different when you watch the film when 33's back there.”

As for Jones, he was obviously relieved when the ashes were recovered. He also viewed his strong performance as a tribute to his father. “It's super special,” Jones explained. “My dad's always taught me as a man is how you respond to adversity … or how you respond is what makes a man, really. So, I think we came out, we did a good job of responding.”

Although Jones’ father is no longer with us, the lessons he taught his son will stay with him throughout his lifetime.

It is often easy to forget that the players who line up for the Packers and other NFL teams are human beings with lives off the field that we know little or nothing about. Dealing with the loss of a parent like Jones’ father is a process and it takes time to heal from it and get back to whatever the new normal of your life is going to be. But Jones’ strong performance against the Lions in the home opener was another step forward in dealing with this tragedy.

Jones has dedicated the 2021 season to his dad. It is a fitting tribute to the man who helped make the Packers starting running back the player and the person that he is.


You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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3 points

Comments (2)

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Gman1976's picture

September 25, 2021 at 04:43 pm

If my memory serves me correctly, Brett Favre also had amazing game after his father's passing. What a great tribute to their beloved fathers.

6 points
SanLobo's picture

September 26, 2021 at 09:25 am

I had the pleasure of meeting SGM Alvin Jones in 2017. We talked a bit about the Army, Ft Bliss, and of course his children of whom he was was so proud. RIP SGM.

2 points