Nov. 10, 2005
By Jeremy Herb
The Santa Clara
The city of San Jose honored former Bronco All-American Brent Jones last Thursday, inducting him into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame.
After a successful professional football career with the 49ers, Jones was one of five chosen for the hall this year. With the induction, he joins many local sports legends, including former Santa Clara coaches Buck Shaw and Pat Malley.
"It's a great honor and thrill," Jones said. "I had the opportunity to grow up and play locally in high school, and then here at Santa Clara, and then with the 49ers at a time that was spectacular for the organization. To be able to share that with all your family and friends across the board made it most special."
Jones' speech at the induction ceremony lasted approximately 20-25 minutes. Director of Sports Medicine Mike Cembellin said that Jones did not look down at notes once, telling "story after story."
When Jones arrived at Santa Clara, he had only been a second-string wide receiver on his high school team. He also played baseball at the university and hit .345 on the JV team his freshman year.
However, he decided to focus on football his sophomore year after talking with head coach Terry Malley, who decided to switch Jones from wide receiver to tight end.
"This is a guy who didn't start on his high school football team," Malley said. "His question to me at the time was, 'If I do this, can I play in the NFL?' And I said, 'if you do this, this and this, I think you're very similar to Doug Cosbie, another great tight end here who played for the Dallas Cowboys.' And if you look at his career, it paralleled what Doug did in the NFL."
After graduating from Santa Clara, the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted Jones, but a neck injury he suffered in a car accident hampered his performance. The Steelers cut him after his rookie season.
Looking back, Cembellin said that the car accident was probably the best thing that ever happened to him because it allowed the Niners to pick him up as a free agent.
Jones remained with the Niners for the rest of his career, winning three Super Bowls and playing in four Pro Bowls.
"He played tight end like wide receiver and always had incredible hands," former Bronco teammate David Drummond said. "It was never any surprise to me that he was an all-pro tight end."
For those close to Jones, his induction is a tribute to his character as well as his football skills.
"Pat Malley used to profess that SC stands for style and class," Tanner said. "Brent embodies those two ideals. He always has in his playing days and his personal life and professional career. He's just a great, great individual -- a class act."