The Philadelphia Soul are heading toward the playoffs with the best record in the Arena Football League, but they’re about to lose one of their top players, who’s quitting the team to seek greener pastures.
Soul receiver Tiger Jones was told that there’s a spot available for him at the Eagles’ training camp, so he’s leaving the team immediately. He hasn’t actually signed with the Eagles yet, but he told the Philadelphia Daily News that a chance to make an NFL roster is a chance he has to go for now, and getting ready for Eagles camp is more important than finishing out the Arena season and risking an injury.
“When you put in this much work, spend three to four months with these guys and set goals for the team, it’s hard not to see it through to the finish line,” Jones said. “It’s definitely bittersweet, but you can’t pass up an opportunity like this. They don’t come around like this every day, especially in the Arena league. A lot of NFL [personnel] guys look at us like we can’t make the transition. For them to give me a shot says something.”
Last season Jones was named the best receiver of the year in Arena Football and this season he leads the Arena League with 2,010 receiving yards. Soul coach Doug Plank that losing players for a better opportunity in the NFL goes with the territory of coaching in Arena Football.
“There’s no question that taking a person of his [caliber] is going to create a vacuum,” Plank said. “But, at the same time, you have to look at the bigger picture. If, through this season, we were able to put one or two players into the National Football League, then it’s a win for the AFL.”
It’s unlikely that Jones will actually make the Eagles’ 53-man roster, but most Arena League players are just hoping to do enough to make the NFL notice. Jones has at least done that.
Photo via ArenaFootball.com.