Category Archives: Aaron Jones Jersey

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Everything has happened so fast. It seems like only yesterday Aaron Jones  was a healthy scratch during the Packers’ season opener against the Seattle Seahawks.

However, opportunity knocked last month against the Chicago Bears and Jones answered the call after Ty Montgomery  and Jamaal Williams  exited due to injury.

Before the game, Alvin Jr. joked with his brother about making sure his first NFL carry went for a touchdown. Although that didn’t happen – Aaron gained four yards on the play – he ran hard en route to 49 yards on 13 carries.

A week later, Jones started his first NFL game against the Dallas Cowboys. His parents, friends and family made the trip to Arlington as Jones rushed for 125 yards and a touchdown in a 35-31 victory, earning him NFL rookie of the week honors.

Back at UTEP, Alvin Jr. watched the game with teammates between meetings and weightlifting.

“It was just crazy watching it on TV,” Alvin Jr. said. “We’re watching it in the locker room and everyone is just going crazy. The Cowboys were our favorite team growing up and he got to do it there in front of everybody, all of our family.”

Jones has compiled the fourth-most rushing yards (297) since Week 5 and sits behind only Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman with a first-down run percentage of 27.4 percent. His 5.6 yards per carry ranks third in the NFL among backs with at least 6.25 carries per game.

Alvin Sr. and Vurgess have been there for all of it. It’s required some pinpoint planning on Vurgess’ part, but the couple also has made it to all seven of Alvin Jr.’s games at UTEP without a hitch.

“It’s just knowing we always have a support system,” Alvin Jr. said. “We always have someone to talk to no matter what or no matter where we go to. We’re going to have someone at our games supporting us, even if we’re in New York or wherever.”

Aaron admits having family in town the week of the Saints game was good for his soul. With his mom arriving Wednesday and twin brother flying in Thursday, Jones couldn’t wait to show them around his new home in Green Bay.

The opportunity to take a photo with his brother during pregame warmups also made it a moment he’ll never forget. The two have been around the world together and served as each other’s biggest motivators.

Now, they were there to watch Aaron play on one of football’s most cherished fields.

“It was really special,” Aaron said. “We talked before the game, after the game. He was excited he got to see some of the players. It’s always a treat when I get to have my brother here. I just feel complete.”

After the game, Alvin Jr. told Aaron “you look like you belong out there” before adding in a joking manner that he appeared a “little slow” on the 46-yard touchdown run.

Dismissed for the Packers’ bye week, Jones returned home to El Paso this week. He even joined Alvin during a visit at a local hospital, trying to lift the spirits of patients and giving gifts to children.

Statistics measure success, but it’s that image of their children giving back that brings a smile to the faces of Alvin Sr. and Vurgess.

The two have traveled the world together and seen everything there is to see, but there’s no place they’d rather be right now than in the stands every Saturday and Sunday watching their sons live out their dreams.

“What I’ve told Aaron and Alvin, this is a reward for all the hard work that you guys have put in,” Alvin Sr. said. “What mom and I always try to do with them, even now, is make sure they understand why they’re successful. That, first and foremost, is the blessing from the man wupstairs. Secondly, we try to keep them humble and working hard. No matter how much success you have, there’s always something you can improve so continue to work hard, stay humble and good things will always happen for you.”

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When you punch in the number with the 931 area code, you know you’re calling Alvin Jones Jr. But unless you’re using the FaceTime video calling app, you could be easily convinced it’s Aaron Jones on the other end.

They’re twins. But they’re fraternal, not identical. You wouldn’t know it by their voices, though. They sound the same. They laugh the same. They repeat the same familiar, “Yes sir, no sir” that comes from their military family background.

“Sometimes my mom, if she doesn’t look down at the caller ID, she’ll say, ‘Hey Alvin,’” Aaron said. “And I’ll have to say, ‘Mom, this is Aaron.’”

Whichever one you’re talking to, it’s quickly apparent how close they are to one another.

That’s what made last Sunday so tough for Aaron and Alvin, the older brother by 30 minutes. There was Alvin in El Paso, Texas, some 600 miles from AT&T Stadium, where Aaron, the Green Bay Packers’ rookie running back, was about to make his first NFL start against the Dallas Cowboys. Alvin couldn’t leave the UTEP campus because the senior linebacker for the Miners had a full day of meetings, film study and weightlifting.

The Packers-Cowboys game was midway through the third quarter by the time Alvin was able to park himself in front of a television.

“The first run I saw was when he went for 22 yards up the middle,” Alvin said in a phone interview this week. “I was with all of my teammates, and we were all in there cheering, screaming. It’s exciting. You watch people in the NFL all the time, but it’s not very often you know them and really have a bond with them.”

It was the longest run of the Packers’ season and a big part of Aaron’s breakout performance: 19 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown in the comeback victory. Even if starting running back Ty Montgomery returns Sunday from the broken ribs he sustained in Week 4, the Packers will have to find a way to get Jones on the field, too.

From players to coaches, just about everyone in Green Bay was impressed with Jones’ first extended action.

“He was basically in a lot of ways coming home,” Packers running backs coach Ben Sirmans said. “He had a lot of people coming to the game, and he was in a good spot.”

How Jones reached that spot actually starts with his twin brother.

“He was pretty much the reason I left school [a year early],” Aaron said. “After I sat down and talked to my coaches, my parents and everybody I needed to talk to, I talked to him because I felt like I would’ve been leaving him. We wanted to go to school together, so we did that, but he was like, ‘It’s been your dream ever since we were little kids, go live your dream. I couldn’t be mad at you for that.’ Once he told me that, my mind was made up.”

Alvin knew his brother was NFL-ready, and it didn’t take all 4,114 rushing yards — a UTEP record — to convince him.

“His first game in college, he broke off a 60-yard touchdown run his first play in the game against New Mexico,” Alvin said.

Actually, it was 65 and it was on the fifth carry of his college career, but you get the idea.

“And he’s only gotten better every year,” Alvin said.

The first thing you notice about Aaron is his smile. He wears it almost all the time. On occasion, though, it only masks how much he misses Alvin. The two were roommates at UTEP. They still try to talk or FaceTime every day; Aaron was on the phone with his twin when reporters were allowed in the visitors locker room Sunday at AT&T Stadium.

“That’s one of the biggest things I would’ve wanted, for him to be there to see me play,” Aaron said on one of the rare occasions his smile disappeared. “If he could’ve found some way to be there, he would’ve definitely been there.”

Their parents, Alvin Sr. and Vurgess, haven’t missed a game this season. For either brother. The retired military couple still lives in El Paso.

“So they’ll come to my games and the next day they’ll fly up to Green Bay or wherever Aaron is playing,” Alvin said. “If I have an away game they’ll stay up there all week and then come to my game and come back for his.”

Alvin plans to come to Green Bay in less than two weeks, for the Oct. 22 game against the Saints. That’s UTEP’s bye week. The Packers have their bye the following week, and Aaron plans to be in El Paso for Alvin’s game against UTSA.

UTEP’s first season without its all-time rushing leader has been a disaster. The Miners are 0-6 and had a midseason coaching change. But Aaron thinks Alvin has played well enough to join him in the NFL, and said he planned to make sure the Packers’ scouting department takes a long look at his twin before the draft next spring.

Maybe there’s a chance the two could be reunited. It’s the first time they’ve been separated in their lives. They shared a room for most of their childhood as they moved from Georgia to Germany to Tennessee. It wasn’t until the family moved to Texas that they got their own rooms. But when they went to UTEP, they moved back in together. Alvin didn’t find another roommate to replace Aaron and said, “It’s kind of boring without him.”

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A month ago, Aaron Jones was the Green Bay Packers’ fourth-string running back.

And the prize for that is a spot on the game-day inactive list.

That’s how the rookie started the season in the Sept. 10 opener.

How quickly things can change in the NFL. In Sunday’s 35-31 win over the Dallas Cowboys, no one made a bigger impact than the fifth-round pick from UTEP with his 125 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

Jones didn’t even line up from scrimmage for the first time until last week after Ty Montgomery broke multiple ribs and Jamaal Williams dropped out with a knee injury. It was at that point against the Bears that coach Mike McCarthy had no choice but to turn to Jones.

McCarthy liked what he saw so much last week, when Jones rushed for 49 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries, that he bypassed Williams, who returned against the Cowboys, and started Jones in place of the inactive Montgomery.

McCarthy didn’t just start Jones, he rode him.

The diminutive Jones (5-foot-9, 208 pounds) showed some quickness this preseason when he was the Packers’ leading rusher, albeit McCarthy didn’t run the ball enough to have a great feel for any of his three rookie backs. And that quickness was apparent when it mattered. He hit holes quickly, and even if he didn’t always make the right read or cut, he did so decisively.

His 22-yard run in the third quarter that set up the go-ahead touchdown was the Packers’ longest rush of the season and their first more than 20 yards. All but three teams had at least one 20-plus-yard run this season before the Packers got that one from Jones.

To cap it off, Jones sliced his way for a 15-yard run on the Packers’ game-winning drive to at least put them into position for a field goal that would have forced overtime. But the Packers didn’t need overtime because Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams won it with a 12-yard touchdown with 11 seconds to play.

This is why Ted Thompson picked three running backs: Williams in the fourth round, followed by Jones in the fifth and Davante Mays in the seventh. It was Mays who was active and ahead of Jones in the season opener.

Yes, the Packers have all kinds of problems — their offensive line still isn’t intact, and their defense couldn’t get that one last stop it needed when it allowed the Cowboys to go 79 yards on 17 plays over 8 minutes and 43 seconds to regain the lead with 1:13 left — but now know they have plenty of depth even when Montgomery returns that perhaps they can finally field a one-two punch that McCarthy prefers over a workhorse back. They also can afford to let Montgomery’s ribs fully heal rather than him trying to play with a protective vest like he tried in practice last week.

The Packers have been ravaged by injuries this year, but at least it doesn’t appear they’ll run out of running backs like they did last year — when they had to move Montgomery from receiver. And they have Aaron Jones to thank for that.