Notre Dame coaches help son of gridiron legend through tragedy
Posted: Aug 16, 2011 11:11 PM EST | Updated: Nov 6, 2014 5:59 AM EST
Notre Dame, IN. - Notre Dame coaches help son of gridiron legend through tragedy
This summer Notre Dame said good-bye to one of its football greats, Andre Jones. Jones died from a brain aneurysm in June at just 42-years-old.
Jones played on the 1988 national championship team. Now, his son TJ Jones is carrying on his legacy as a wide receiver for the Fighting Irish.
Last year quick feet put wide receiver TJ Jones in the starting line up, playing opposite stars like Michael Floyd.
Wide receiver coach Tony Alford says having that experience has only helped Jones get better in the off season.
Alford says TJ's biggest sign of improvement is his ability to play at a high level of intensity for longer periods of time.
"Well I think he is more mature, as he should be. He is in his 2ND year of the program and he has grown. He has grown physically and he has grown mentally," says coach Alford.
But back in June the true freshman took a hit harder than any blow he's ever taken on the field. His father, Andre Jones, died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. A Notre Dame football player himself, the news sent shockwaves through the whole Notre Dame community.
"We talk about it all the time. TJ and I are close, as was I will his father. So we do talk about it a lot and it's brought up a lot. We will talk about it as deep as he wants to go into it."
The Fighting Irish embraced the up and coming football star as he mourned loss of his father. Coach Alford says Jones has found real streghten in continuing the legecy his father left behind.
"He understands that he came to Notre Dame to do some things. To fulfill some dreams and some goals, and he is continuing on task."
Coach Alford says this has been a defining moment for the wide receiver and can already see how he has grown as a person. "I am very proud of his approach and how he has handled that adversity, if you will, which just shows you his maturity and it shows you how he was raised. It says a lot about how his mother and father raised him."
TJ Jones is one of the Fighting Irish's key offensive weapons this season, and Alford says Jones has now focused his attention on creating his own legacy with the team.