Chris Jones isn’t “just a punter,” like some dispensable part of the Cowboys. He works out with the linebackers, receivers and safeties in the offseason. He throws passes as an extra quarterback when needed during practices.
He’s also a former high school linebacker.
“But that’s been forever ago,” Jones said. “That was 10 years ago.”
Still, Jones looked more like a defensive player than a punter last week when he put a lick on Lions returner Andre Roberts.
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“I gave it my 195 pounds of effort,” Jones said.
Roberts had a 23-yard punt return down the Cowboys sideline. Jones didn’t see linebacker Kyle Wilber and thought he was the last line of defense.
After Jones popped Roberts into the Cowboys sideline, his teammates mobbed him.
“I feel like the league in general as far as our position – kickers, punters, even snappers – they’re more and more athletic each year,” Jones said. “We work – me and Dan workout with linebackers, receivers, safeties, all offseason. Not saying we’re looking to mix it up, whenever we’re in a game, but if it happens I guess we feel like we’re capable of doing so.”
Still, it endeared Jones to his teammates and earned him more text messages than any punt of his career.
“Tons. Text messages. Pictures sent to me. Because I’m not a big social media guy, so I get all that stuff sent to me,” Jones said. “Quite a bit.”
Jones got to watch the play plenty last week, but he wasn’t exactly glowing about it. Roberts, after all, did gain 23 yards.
“I wouldn’t say it was that big of a deal to me,” Jones said. “It’s almost kind of like a bittersweet deal because he got a 20-something-yard return on us. It’s never a good thing when you see a guy break around the corner like that and you’re the only guy between him and the end zone. It was really do anything you can to not let him get in there. If it’s a hit or some kind of a dive or push, you’ve got to do whatever it is to stop them.”
Jones has two special teams tackles this season.