Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Raiders' Jones Enjoyed Run of Luck

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Raiders' Jones Enjoyed Run of Luck

Article excerpt

The ball was right there, right in front of him. When he saw it, Mike Jones must have smiled to himself. He must have remembered his college days.

Jones scooped up the ball. Then he ran. He picked up some blockers. He cut to the outside. And when he was hit, he dived for the goal line.

Not bad for an outside linebacker.

"It felt like being a running back again," Jones said after his fourth-quarter fumble recovery and 52-yard touchdown return helped the Raiders finish off a 47-10 victory over the New York Jets at Giants Stadium on Sunday night.

It should have. Jones, 26, was a fullback at Missouri - so good he was honorable mention All-Big Eight Conference as a senior. He scored 10 touchdowns and also was an occasional linebacker. That's where the Raiders wanted him to play when they signed him as a free agent in 1991.

"I haven't touched the ball since college," he said. "It felt good."

Jones happened to be in the right position after Jets quarterback Boomer Esiason threw an 18-yard pass to rookie wide receiver Wayne Chrebet. But cornerback Najee Mustafaa's hit jarred the ball loose, and Jones grabbed it and ran.

But let him tell it.

"Najee made a great play and stripped the ball," he said. "I picked it up and started taking off down the sideline when I saw some blockers. I cut it back, and the next thing I knew I was on the 20-yard line. At about the 7, a guy hit me and knocked me into the end zone. I just reacted to the play."

Not quite. Jones actually broke six tackles along the way. When he was hit near the goal line, he dived instinctively for the end zone.

Coach Mike White said it was team owner Al Davis who made the decision to convert Jones from running back to linebacker.

"He got his chance earlier this year," White said of Jones, who played with the Sacramento Surge of the World League in 1992. But Sunday night, "His fullback instincts rose to the occasion. …

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