Catching Up

Barrett Jones, A Change of Career Needed. Should he consider Coaching?

An All American at three different offensive line positions, a scholar in the classroom and a saint of community service, could there be college coaching role model than Barrett Jones?

Jones during an interview in 2011 following the Tennessee game. (Photo-Larry Burton)

Barrett Jones, A Change of Career Needed. Should he consider Coaching?

By: Larry Burton

No lineman in recent years had both the versatility and awards that Barrett Jones did at Alabama. As a redshirt freshman he started all 14 games at right guard and earned Freshman All American honors in doing so. He also won a national championship ring. That usually means that a young man has found the spot he was supposed to be in.

But no, by his junior year, because the team needed him, he switched to left tackle, started all 13 games, won another national championship and was an All SEC selection and a unanimous first-team All-American and won the Outland Trophy as the most outstanding offensive lineman in college football. So this was clearly where he was supposed to play.

But again, not so fast, because in his senior year, another player developed who could play left tackle and the team needed a great center, so in steps Barrett Jones, to play his third position. Again, he started every game, won another national championship and lots of other hardware to go along with that ring. He won the Rimington Trophy given each year to the outstanding college center in college football and again All SEC and All American honors. He became just the second player in the history of college football to win both the Outland Trophy and the Rimington Trophy in different years.

Yes, in ending his career at Alabama, he left with more accolades and honors, showed more versatility and unselfishness than any offensive lineman in the long history of great ones at Alabama.

Yet for some reason, his 6’5” 310 frame didn’t carry him far in the pro ranks. He was drafted by the Rams in 2013, but with little play, he was waived in 2015. He was picked up by the Steelers as a practice squad player in 2015 but was also cut from that team, the picked up and cut by the Chicago Bears and also the Eagles, all in 2015. In 2016 he was given a look by the Falcons, but that didn’t pan out.

He had some injuries, the biggest of which was back surgery in 2014, but whatever the other reasons were, it was clear by this season that the NFL was done with him as a viable option as a starting lineman.

He did a little work for ESPN this spring as an insider “official” at the Georgia spring game and is often seen in Tuscaloosa where he is revered and idolized. So maybe it’s time that Jones comes back to the venue that he excelled in best, the college campus, where he won not only tons of football honors, but was a classroom master too.

Having both the high intellect and football mastery of the offensive line, could there possibly be a better graduate assistant for the offensive line than Jones?

While Jones has made no public statement on this issue and we’re certainly not putting words in his mouth, it’s time that he consider this path as it’s hard to imagine someone who could relate and coach every player at every position on the offensive line better than the man who won All American honors at each of them.

I asked him once after a game in college a few years back if earning his masters degree and maintaining a 4.0 average meant that when his football days were over he was looking at the business world. His response was, “I want to pursue playing football for now, because that’s what I love the most. But a great education gives you options in life and you always have to keep all your options open.” Jones said.

I hope coaching is an option he keeps open. A role model on the field, a role model in the classroom and a role model as a fine Christian man you also won honors for humanity and service to others that colleges don’t have enough of. Let’s hope he considers this.

Larry has been published in almost every media outlet for college sports and now primarily writes here for Touchdown Alabama. Follow Larry on Twitter for inside thoughts and game time comments at https://twitter.com/LBSportswriter

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