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Jones carries heavy heart after loss of his father

Sep 22, 2011, 2:26 PM EDT


With TJ Jones made available to the media for the first time after the sudden death of his father Andre in June, there are a few great columns out today on the sophomore wide receiver and how impressive he’s been pushing on in a time of tragedy.

“Every second, when I’m not thinking about schoolwork or football, I’m thinking about him,” Jones said yesterday, reminding all of us how fresh the loss is to Jones and his family.

The guys over at were there to film Jones’ interview and instead of rewriting a bunch of quotes, you get a great feel for what a good kid TJ is just by watching this three-minute clip.



What the video didn’t capture was Jones talking about his confrontation with head coach Brian Kelly on the sidelines of the USF game, after Tommy Rees‘ pass bounced off TJ’s helmet and into the arms of a defender for a critical redzone interception.

“I think a lot of people reacted to that more than I guess what it was,” Jones said. “In the heat of the moment, I understand it’s coaching. I got the message he was sending, whereas other people just saw him yelling at me. I saw it as, put the play behind you. Get better the next play.”

While Kelly’s red-faced tantrum has gotten more than its share of media attention, it’s important to point out that while the volume level and facial coloring might be extreme, it’s not a coach breaking down or insulting his player, but rather coaching… with additional volume and intensity.

Besides, even Jones’ mother, who was on the field before the game with TJ during a pregame moment of silence, didn’t seem too worried about it.

“She thought it was kind of funny,” Jones said.

Having both of my parents still with me, I can’t begin to imagine what it’s like to lose your father at such a young age — Andre Jones was only 42 when he passed away. But it’s clear that the entire Notre Dame family has been there for TJ as he grieves and transitions into a more paternal role as he helps his mother with his five younger siblings.

“I’ve become the man of the house,” Jones said. “My problems don’t really matter to me anymore. It’s more helping my family out. I just think to myself everyday that I have six other people at home that are counting on me.”

After a shaky opening Saturday, Jones has rebounded, scoring two important touchdowns in consecutive weeks for the Irish, adding another outside threat to the offense to go along with Michael Floyd. It’s hard not to credit that to maturity both on and off the field, and watching Jones — unfortunately forced — to grow up before us.

“I think he’s really stepped up,” Kelly said. “He’s a lot more accountable. He’s not a freshman anymore. Last year, there would be times where he would just act like a freshman. He’s a lot more mature in the way he handles himself.”


  1. dickasman - Sep 22, 2011 at 2:31 PM

    I didn’t realize his mother was asian. Does anyone know what his mother’s nationality is?

    • nudeman - Sep 22, 2011 at 2:58 PM

      Why does that matter?

      • andy44teg - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:30 PM

        Glad to see nudeman and dickasman are able to get along usual. On an article about a kid losing his dad so unexpectedly, you two still find a way to annoy everyone who reads these comments. Please to go on and on for 20 lines like last time. It’s a lot of wasted time and energy, and I have neither the time, nor the energy. Thanks.

      • andy44teg - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:32 PM

        *Please DON’T go on and on*

      • nudeman - Sep 23, 2011 at 10:34 AM


        What, bad night’s sleep? Not enough fiber?

        I simply asked a one line question and you went off on a harangue.

        Frankly, your contribution here was a waste of cyberspace.

    • dickasman - Sep 22, 2011 at 4:33 PM


      This is America, you have a choice my friend. Don’t look, don’t respond. I simply asked a question.

  2. dickasman - Sep 22, 2011 at 3:28 PM

    Because maybe I like asians more and I will probably root for him more, perhaps?

    • 1notredamefan - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:27 PM

      There’s something really Wrong about that comment……..just sayin

  3. smurphdoggy29 - Sep 22, 2011 at 3:53 PM

    God Bless the Jones family and RIP Andre Jones. Here’s rooting for a positive outcome for all the members of the Jones family.

  4. Jennifer - Sep 22, 2011 at 6:31 PM

    Wow. Talk about perspective. I’ve followed your (excellent) blog from the start, and really appreciate your “Inside the Irish” perspectives. I’ve also felt a camaraderie with other bloggers who love ND & ND Football. We really care about these young men. So my heart goes out to TJ, and his siblings, and especially his mother. I’m betting that Mrs. Jones will pick up this ball and run with it, as her husband did then, and her sons do now. The great Andre Jones now lives on in his children, and their faith and love for one another will sustain them.

    • 1notredamefan - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:28 PM


  5. irishinmichigan - Sep 23, 2011 at 4:37 PM

    Sorry for you loss TJ, keep playing strong. We appreciate your toughness. Looking forward to a great rest of the season.
    For the rest of you, keep comments to the post, we’re here to read about ND not your tiffs.

  6. 1notredamefan - Sep 23, 2011 at 9:31 PM

    Hoping for a BIG game from TJ this week………One for Sr.

  7. jerseyshorendfan1 - Sep 23, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    I have a ton of respect for this kid. Having lost my Dad at a young age, i know the toll that it tskes. For him to play football at such a high level and handle himself with such composure speaks volumes about how his Dad raised him. Your Father was, and is proud of you kid. So is your extended ND family.

  8. trbowman - Sep 24, 2011 at 12:03 AM

    So two guys named ‘nudeman’ and ‘dickasman’ are arguing over whether or not a football player’s mother is asian.


  9. dickasman - Sep 24, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    Let me make these points “outlinable” for you illiterate collegiate douches.

    1. We are not “arguing”.
    2. The mother is asian.
    A. I only asked what her nationality is.
    B. Chinese? Vietnamese? Blackanese?
    3. What is so wrong with asking that simple question?

    Do you not like it when during the olympics different people root for different countries? You may go back to putting your teeth back in and enjoying the ND football game. Good day, mates!

  10. Huck Finn - Sep 27, 2011 at 3:21 PM

    Let me say from experience that there is no better place to be during difficult times than at ND. All the best to TJ and his family.

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