Syracuse DE joins older brother Arthur in the NFL
The Ultimate Fighting Championship recently touted the Jones boys as "America's Most Athletic Family." And while it was part of a hype video for Jon's title fight and grudge match with Rashad Evans, it may have been spot on.
Chandler Jones, the younger brother of UFC light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, was drafted Thursday night by the New England Patriots in the first round of the NFL Draft. In the NFL, Chandler will join older brother Arthur, who is a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens.
Two NFL players and a UFC champ who is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world? "America's Most Athletic Family" may have been right on the money.
Chandler, who like Arthur played his college football for Syracuse, was one of the top-rated defensive ends heading into the start of Thursday's NFL Draft, with high hopes for a first-round selection. The Patriots actually traded up to the No. 21 spot to be able to pick the 6-foot-5, 265-pound All-Big East player. Chandler played just seven games in 2011 due to injury, but nonetheless bypassed his senior season at Syracuse in order to enter the draft.
Chandler, on a media call Thursday after being selected, talked about his older brothers.
"My brother Arthur has taught me a lot going through this whole draft process," Chandler said. "Having a brother in the NFL is a great advantage. (Jon) is a professional fighter. That's what he's paid to do, and I respect that. I was in Atlanta and I was sitting with Arthur in the front row supporting him (against Evans last week at UFC 145). It was one of his toughest fights, and I thank God that he came out with a win."
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said at a press conference Chandler has room to grow into an even bigger athlete.
"Any player at that age still has room to develop and mature as an athlete," Belichick said. "He's a pretty well put together kid. I don't think he's going to be 295 (pounds). I wouldn't say that. But could he gain five or 10 pounds? I don't know. We'll see. Put him in the program and work with him. He trains pretty well. He's a pretty well-conditioned athlete. We'll see."
Chandler said he was anxious to become part of the defense for a team that went to the Super Bowl last year.
"I'm just excited to be on this defense," he said. "I'm going to play wherever Coach (Belichick) tells me to play. Making this transition to the NFL, my biggest thing is to learn the defense and get that brotherhood bond with the rest of the defense."
And if you're wondering when the first brother-vs.-brother game will happen, it's Week 3 when the Patriots visit Baltimore for a Sunday night game on NBC. That game is Sept. 23, the night after UFC 152 in Toronto. So Jon Jones might want to ask for that night off.
While you're here, why not watch our Jon Jones mini-documentary?