The Dunkin’ Donuts stores in Greater Philadelphia received some wonderful news Tuesday when the Philadelphia Eagles signed former Cowboys running back Felix Jones to a one-year contract. The former Cowboys second-round pick showed up for training camp in July at least 10 pounds overweight, and promptly failed a conditioning test.
Jones was thrust into a starting role when starter DeMarco Murray suffered a foot injury, but the running game never gained any traction with him. The Cowboys finished 31st in the league in rushing, which helped lead to the dismissal of running backs coach Skip Peete.
Jones was chosen in the first round of the Cowboys’ 2007 draft to complement the bruising style of Marion Barber. Then-offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had a big say in the selection of Jones because he didn’t believe the Cowboys needed another feature back.
The Eagles view Jones as a complementary piece to one of the most productive tailbacks in the league, LeSean McCoy. Jones’ time with the Cowboys was undermined by a variety of injuries. He missed significant time with toe, hamstring and thigh injuries. Jones was one of the more likable players on the team, and for a while he actually tried everything to limit his injuries.
Two years ago, Jones informed me that he was working out at a gymnastics facility in Rockwall, Texas. He thought his time on the rings might strengthen his core, but he continued to be out for long stretches.
Garrett could’ve cut him on the spot for failing a relatively easy conditioning test. But Jerry Jones wanted to squeeze everything he could out of the former Arkansas player. Jones was a great change-of-pace back for the Razorbacks, in part because he was playing with Darren McFadden. Once Barber’s career fell into a tailspin, it was obvious Jones wasn’t the type of back who could handle a lot of carries.
And even though he was obviously overweight heading into last season, the Cowboys made the disastrous decision to make him the primary returner on kickoffs. An early fumble against the Seahawks helped put the Cowboys in a 10-0 hole in the first quarter. The Cowboys had hoped Jones would be a threat in the passing game, but he never made much of an impact in that area.
That Jones was selected when Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte and Jamaal Charles were still on the board added insult to injury. Jones had 15 touchdowns and rushed for 2,728 yards during his five seasons. Maybe it’s too harsh to label him a bust, but it’s certainly one of the many do-overs the Cowboys would love to have.
Perhaps Jones will be motivated to lay off the donuts in order to make the Eagles’ roster. But I’ve heard rumors that Dunkin’ has brought back the French crullers.
And when it comes to sweets, this man will not be denied.