Nothing is promised in the National Football League. Some "can't miss" prospects miss badly, (Ryan Leaf) and some careers are cut short right before the player's prime (Gale Sayers). Another example of a great player's career being cut short by injury was Baltimore Colts quarterback Bert Jones.

Bert Jones was born on September 7th, 1951 in Ruston, Louisiana. His father was William "Dub" Jones a halfback for the Cleveland Browns from 1948-1955. The younger Jones played his college football at Louisiana State University from 1970 to 1973, garnering All-American honors in 1972,and was named College Football Player of the Year by the Sporting News in 1973.

The 6-ft-2 220 pound Jones was projected as a first round pick in the 1973 NFL draft, and ended up being picked with the 2nd pick overall by the Baltimore Colts. Jones took over the starting QB spot in 1974, and led the Colts to 3 straight AFC Eastern Division titles from 1975-1977. Unfortunately, Jones and the Colts ran up against even better teams in those 3 years (the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1975 and 1976 and the Oakland Raiders in 1977), and lost in the first round of the playoffs each year.

Things turned sour for Jones in 1978 however. Back and shoulder injuries took their toll, and Jones missed 13 out of 16 games that year. His troubles continued in 1979, missing 12 more games and the Colts tumbled into last place in the division.

Jones made a impressive comeback from his injuries in 1980 and 1981 finishing 15 games each year, but he played with increasing back pain while doing so. Jones went to the Los Angeles Rams in 1981 but only played 4 games before retiring due to now chronic back problems.

Before his injuries got to him in 1978, Bert Jones was one of the best quarterbacks of his era. He received MVP and Pro Bowl honors in 1976, and in 1974 set the record for consecutive completetions in one game with 17 in 1974. (This record has since been broken). While he only played for 10 years, Bert Jones definitely left his mark with the fans in Baltimore.

Bert Jones' passing statistics:


Year Team G Com Att  %     Yds    Y/A     TD    INT   Rtg  
1973 BAL  8  43 108 39.8   539    4.99     4     12   28.8 
1974 BAL 11 143 270 53.0 1,610    5.96     8     12   62.4 
1975 BAL 14 203 344 59.0 2,483    7.22    18      8   89.1 
1976 BAL 14 207 343 60.3 3,104    9.05    24      9  102.5  
1977 BAL 14 224 393 57.0 2,686    6.83    17     11   80.8 
1978 BAL  3  27  42 64.3   370    8.81     4      1  114.2 
1979 BAL  4  43  92 46.7   643    6.99     3      3   67.4 
1980 BAL 15 248 446 55.6 3,134    7.03    23     21   75.3 
1981 BAL 15 244 426 57.3 3,094    7.26    21     20   76.9 
1982 LA   4  48  87 55.2   527    6.06     2      4   61.8
 
        G   Com  Att    %    Yds   Y/A  TD   INT     Rtg  
Totals 102 1,430 2,551 56.1 18,190 7.13 124  101     78.2 

                                

Other statistics include 1,429 rushing yards and 14 rushing touchdowns in his career.

Sources include www.pro-football-reference.com, www.hickoksports.com and www.nfl.com

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