The hopes and dreams that Chad Jones embraced after going to the New York Giants in the third round of the 2010 NFL Draft seemingly were dashed when he was involved in a grim, one-car accident in New Orleans in the early hours of June 25, 2010.
The former LSU safety suffered a shattered left tibia and fibulam as well as artery and nerve damage in the crash. Jones was told he might never walk again without a limp on his rebuilt left leg, but one year after the accident, he's sprinting on the treadmill and squatting in excess of 100 pounds, and far from abandoning his NFL career, according to *The Times-Picayune*.
Jones is about halfway through an intense, two-year rehabilitation process that he hopes will lead him back to a dress rehearsal with the Giants.
"Chad's progress has been phenomenal," said John Moran, the physical therapist administering Jones' rehabilitation at Southern Orthopaedic Specialists in New Orleans.
Jones still can't feel his heel or shift his ankle from side to side, but he remains driven to get back on the field. He says if football isn't an option, he'd consider pursuing a baseball career -- but his first choice is clear.
"The people that doubt me, I just use that as motivation," Jones said. "I don't worry about that. I will never give up the fight to play football again. ... I've been very blessed. I'm just grateful to be alive."
Before the accident, Jones signed a four-year, $2.6 million deal that included an $825,965 signing bonus, according to The Times-Picayune. The Giants subsequently placed Jones on the reserve non-football injury list, but he was allowed to keep his bonus and is motivated to reward the Giants for their faith in him.
"Reaching the NFL was good, but I want to play in those games now, to show that I'm a respectable player at this level," Jones said. "I'm still striving for the future and that big goal of being on that field and strapping it up in that New York uniform."
Jones said the entire experience has matured him, telling the newspaper, "I've gained a lot of perspective."