Illini Legends, Lists & Lore: Henry Jones
Twenty-two years ago today, Illinois cornerback Henry Jones was the 26th overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft, going to the Buffalo Bills.
A 1986 graduate of St. Louis University High School in Missouri, Jones signed with coach Mike White’s Illini. Redshirted as a true freshman, Jones took advantage of that extra seasoning to become a first-team All-Big Ten selection his senior season under coach John Mackovic. He played in three bowl games: the All-American Bowl in 1988, the Florida Citrus Bowl in 1990 and the 1991 Hall of Fame Bowl.
In his second year in the NFL in 1992, Jones was a Pro Bowl selection as he led the league with eight interceptions. He helped coach Marv Levy’s Bills to four consecutive Super Bowl appearances in 1991, ’92, ’93 and ‘94. Altogether, Jones started 134 of the 158 NFL games in which he played. He performed 10 seasons for Buffalo (1991-2000), then one season each for Minnesota (2001) and Atlanta.
Jones retired after the 2002 season with 18 career interceptions, which he returned for 455 yards and four touchdowns. He also recorded 585 solo tackles and assisted on 126 other stops. Jones was a member of Buffalo’s 50th Anniversary Team.
After his pro career ended, he worked for a season as a financial adviser but left that profession in 2006 to become a certified strength and conditioning trainer. Jones’ family includes his wife, Joanna, and three children, Jordan, Jada and Jasmine. They reside in Atlanta.
Sunday: Rodney Byrd, football (39)
Monday: Anna Dorn, volleyball (21)
Tuesday: Brandon Paul, basketball (22)
Wednesday: Eddie Johnson, basketball (54)
Thursday: Jessica Wright, basketball (29)
Friday: Lowell Hamilton, basketball (47)
Saturday: Pepper Gay, softball (22)
By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore and assistant athletic director at Miami (Ohio)
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