Marcus Jones returns to the Wiregrass to give back

Published 11:26 am Thursday, May 18, 2023

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Former Troy Trojan – and current NFL star – Marcus Jones made his return to the Wiregrass this week, taking part in a series of events along with the Dothan Pediatric Healthcare Network.

Jones was an all-state athlete at Enterprise High School before becoming an All-American at Troy University and the University of Houston. Jones was selected in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots and finished his rookie campaign as an All-Pro punt returner.

Jones played in 15 games last season, and started four, recording 39 tackles, two tackles-for-loss, two interceptions and seven pass breakups. He also returned 27 kickoffs for 645 yards and 29 punts for 362 yards and one touchdown. On offense, Jones caught four passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. He also returned an interception for a touchdown.

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“I felt like it was solid,” Jones said of his rookie season. “We definitely didn’t get to where we wanted to, we didn’t reach our goal as a team, but we’re building on that and just trying to get better every day.”

Dothan Pediatric hosted a meet-and-greet with Jones at the home of Dr. Michael Ramsey on May 17 in Dothan and then Jones made his return to Troy on May 18.

NFL star Marcus Jones speaks to Troy Elementary students at Camp Butter and Egg.

“It feels great to be back,” Jones said with a smile. “Whenever they were driving me around, I was like, ‘I remember everything, it hasn’t changed up too much on me.’ It feels really great to be back, I’m happy to be back.”

Jones appeared at Camp Butter and Egg in Troy to speak to a pair of Troy Elementary School classes. He recounted his life and career to the students and talked to them about reaching their goals.

“The main thing is I wanted to tell them my story, how I came about and how I lived a small life in the Wiregrass and tell them to chase the dreams you want to chase,” Jones said. “Make sure whenever you do it to give 110 percent and have fun with it.”

Jones, who had to overcome his small stature throughout his career, also spoke to the students about the importance controlling the controllable.

“Just hearing me say I play in the National Football League people can be surprised because I’m not the typical size,” said Jones. “Control what you control, that’s my message and that’s what I live by.”

Jones signs autographs for Troy Elementary students.

Following his visit with local students in Troy, Jones visited the future sight of Troy Pediatric Clinic, which is scheduled to open later this year. Jones then traveled back to his hometown of Enterprise to visit the staff of the Enterprise Pediatric Clinic. Jones then stopped in the Dothan Pediatric Subspecialty Clinic in Dothan to meet with patients who are seen by the network’s pediatric subspecialists. He also will visit further patients at the network’s corporate location in Dothan.

The idea to give back to the Wiregrass came from his love for the community he grew up in.

“I’m just trying to give back to the Wiregrass,” Jones emphasized. “A lot of people out of this state wonder about the Wiregrass and everything and I always tell them that it’s a small community that helped me become the man I am.”

The idea to partner with Dothan Pediatric began to form when he was a Trojan.

“When I was at Troy, we ended up going to the Dollar General Bowl and I went to different hospitals down there and everything,” Jones recalled. “I felt like that it was something I definitely wanted to get involved in. I’m trying to do some of this stuff in Massachusetts, too, because I love seeing kids smile even though they may be going through different situations.

Jones visits the site of the future Troy Pediatric Clinic. (Photos by Josh Boutwell)

“This can be deep to the heart and seeing those smiles on their faces and doing small things like playing card games with them and just bringing some brightness to their day means a lot to me.”

Since being drafted in the NFL, Jones has also made it a point to speak to a number of classes in the Wiregrass, like he did in Troy, and said that it means a lot to him to be someone that those children can look up to.

“It feels great off the fact that you’re someone they’re looking up to,” he continued. “I just want to give them that message of trying to stay consistent 24/7, that’s what I want to give to them. It doesn’t have to just be about football either, there’s going to be wins and losses in life, too. Just don’t get too down or too high, make sure you maintain and be consistent.”

The Dothan Pediatric Healthcare Network has pediatric offices in Dothan, Eufaula, Enterprise and Ozark with the Troy location expected to open later this year.