(NEXSTAR) – Kansas City’s star defensive lineman Chris Jones is one of the NFL’s best players and a Super Bowl champion. But to his hometown of Houston, Mississippi he’s a man who made a big imprint on a small town.
Jones moved to North East Mississippi for his Junior year of high school. At the time he was a big kid in a city of under 4,000 people.
“Just looking at him. I was like ‘we need him on the football field,'” recalled Q Lewis, who played alongside Jones in high school.
On the field he dominated. Locals have stories on top of stories of athletic excellence.
“He had just committed to Mississippi State and we were talking with a coach we were going to play next year. He then informed Chris that he better get all he can get in the first 5 games of the year, because he was not going to touch his quarterback. When he said that (Chris) ripped a lid of a pizza box and wrote verbatim what the coach had said,” recalled Jones’ high school defensive coordinator, Coty Cox. “I believe Chris (had) 4 and a half sacks that game…when we were going through the line not being rude but he handed (the quote) back to the coach and said, ‘I appreciate it, coach. That helped me a lot this year.'”
To the outside world, Chris Jones is connected to Houston, Mississippi because of his play on the field. But his personality and inspiration to the youth is what echoes from the downtown Houston to the farmland on the outskirts of town.
“This community is small land we haven’t had a lot come from here, especially in the sports level,” said high school coach Will Cook. “His success and reflection back on this town, everyone is proud of that.”
Linda Franks says the young man she once knew came back to be by her side right before her husband died from cancer.
“We looked up one day and here was he and his agent, and they came to the house and brought all this stuff and he gave it to coach,” she recalled.
Jones’ roots remain planted in the Houston dirt on the field and in the hearts of those who knew him before he was a Super Bowl Champion.
“Chris Jones did it, so so can we,” says teammate Q Lewis.