Former Lions RB Jones gearing up for comeback in NFL

SALINE, Mich. -- Kevin Jones darted to the right, planted his foot, pivoted and sprinted back across a patch of grass.

"That is what teams can't believe I can do," Jones said Thursday morning after doing a shuttle run in 4.3 seconds.

A saturated market

</center> Former Lion Kevin Jones is just one of several marquee veteran free-agent running backs still looking for a job. See how they stack up based on their 2007 statistics: 

Kevin Jones, RB
Games missed: 3

Carries:153

Yards: 583

Rush TDs: 8

Shaun Alexander, RB
Games missed: 3

Carries:207

Yards: 716

Rush TDs: 4

Travis Henry, RB
Games missed: 4

Carries:167

Yards: 691

Rush TDs: 4

Ron Dayne, RB
Games missed: 3

Carries:194

Yards: 773

Rush TDs: 6

Cedric Benson, RB
Games missed: 5

Carries:196

Yards: 674

Rush TDs: 4

Soon, NFL teams will get a chance to witness what seems like a remarkable comeback from ACL surgery.

Jones has a workout scheduled for scouts on June 28 in Saline.

In a town about 40 miles west of Detroit, the former Lions running back has been rehabbing his surgically repaired knee at Brookside Golf Course, a pool and in the basement and dojo of a holistic medicine practitioner and sports agent.

"I've never worked out like this and I feel great," Jones said.

Dr. James Andrews performed the surgery on Jones' right knee in January and told him it would take up to 10 months to get back on the field.

Jones believes he will be able to go through non-contact drills with the team that signs him during training camp next month.

"I honestly feel like I'm ready to play right now," he insisted.

New England, Chicago, Green Bay, Tennessee, Tampa Bay, Denver, Kansas City, Philadelphia, Buffalo and the New York Jets are among the teams who have shown interest in Jones.

"I think I'll get signed in the next couple of weeks," he said. "But it really doesn't matter when it is -- as long as it's before the season."

Jones is vying for a job along with free agent running backs such as Shaun Alexander, Travis Henry, Ron Dayne and Cedric Benson.

The Lions cut their former first-round pick in March with one year left on his contract after he hurt his knee late last season added to the injury woes that have stunted his success in the league.

Jones missed the first two games last season recovering from a foot injury that also sidelined him for the last three games of 2006. He ran for at least 70 yards in five games -- including a season-high 105 -- before hurting his right knee Dec. 23 against the Chiefs.

A few months later, the Lions released him.

"It caught me off guard because a couple weeks before that, everybody with the Lions was saying they were looking forward to having me back after seeing how well I was recovering," Jones said. "But I also understand the situation because I was going into the last year of my contract, coming off two years with injuries, and Roy Williams' contract was going to be up at the same time, too."

A message seeking comment was left Thursday with Lions president Matt Millen.

When the Lions announced their decision to release Jones, Detroit coach Rod Marinelli said the team decided it was the right time to make the move as it prepared for the draft and offseason workouts.

Jones ran for 1,133 yards as a rookie in 2004 and 3,000-plus yards over four season with the Lions.

Dr. D.S. Ping is confident things are going to work out well for Jones.

The holistic-medicine practitioner and sports agent, who does not represent Jones, has been leading Jones through workouts six days a week.

Ping has performed heat acupuncture on Jones' knee, worked him out in his basement gym, jiujitsu dojo and on a golf course for sprinting, shuffling and cutting and in a rec-center pool.

"The scouts are going to be amazed at what they see next week," Ping said.

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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