OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) — It’s fitting that Jacoby Jones retired as a member of the Baltimore Ravens. He won a Super Ring with the Ravens, achieved fame and amassed millions during his time in Baltimore.
His three-year stint from 2012-14 featured dozens of record-setting moments, big plays and pivotal touchdowns.
Though he spent only a third of his NFL career with the Ravens, Jones retired Friday surrounded by Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh.
“This organization is a family more than anything,” Jones said. “The city of Baltimore accepted me. They took me in. It’s love, and I appreciate it. Everything has to come to an end, but at least it’s here.”
Jones played the first five years of his career with the Houston Texans, but was released after fumbling twice in a playoff loss to the Ravens in January 2011.
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome signed Jones to a two-year contract, which marked the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship between man and team.
“When they took me in, first thing Ozzie said was, ‘Be yourself. Just don’t get in trouble,'” Jones said. “You can’t ask for more than that as a player. If you can be yourself, you can play the best ball you can.”
Jones instantly became a star with the Ravens. He scored four touchdowns during the 2012 regular season and added three more scores in the playoffs — all of them in sensational fashion.
He pulled off perhaps the biggest play in franchise history, a 70-yard touchdown catch in the final minute of regulation against Denver that forced overtime in a game the Ravens ultimately won 38-35.
A few weeks later, Jones scored two TDs and amassed a Super Bowl-record 290 yards in Baltimore’s 34-31 win over San Francisco. After breaking two tackles on a 56-yard touchdown catch, he took a kickoff 108 yards for a score.
Not long after that, the Ravens quashed a kick return to produce Jones’ finest moment as a professional football player.
“When they tackled that dude and that sucker said all zeroes, I knew I was a champion,” Jones recalled.
The Louisiana native did it in New Orleans, which made it even sweeter.
“In the biggest game, on the biggest stage, he had his best game in his home town,” Newsome said. “That’s surreal.”
A few months later, Jones was flashing his moves on a national stage in “Dancing With The Stars.” He finished third.
When asked to consider the notion that he helped get the Ravens a Super Bowl and they, in turn, made him famous, Jones replied, “I won’t say famous. I would say they helped make me a better person and a man. Because they gave me a lot of responsibility. They didn’t have a leash on you.”
Harbaugh recalled the time Jones was talking to his mother in the end zone just a few seconds before the Minnesota Vikings were set to kick off in the latter stages of a game in Baltimore.
Jones scrambled back into place, took the kick on the fly and went 77 yards for a touchdown on an icy field.
“He brought us so many memories: The Mile High Miracle, the Minnesota return, the kickoff return in the Super Bowl,” Harbaugh said.
After leaving the Ravens, Jones had a lackluster 2015 season with Pittsburgh and San Diego. He did not play last year and now, at age 33, is ready for retirement — as a Raven.
“You give love and respect, you get love and respect back,” Jones said. “I live in Houston. Everybody is like, ‘Man, you played the most years with Texans.’ And I say, ‘So? You all didn’t want me.'”
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