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.”