When the Ravens meet the Patriots on Sunday Night Football, it will be a big moment for one family that has players on each team: Patriots rookie defensive lineman Chandler Jones and his big brother, Ravens defensive lineman Arthur Jones.
Chandler and Arthur have another brother, and it’s a big weekend for him, too: Less than 24 hours before kickoff on Sunday night, Jon Jones will step into the Octagon in Toronto and defend his UFC light heavyweight title against former champion Vitor Belfort.
Assuming all goes well (and Jon Jones is a heavy favorite), Jon will fly to Baltimore on Sunday to take in the game. The middle of the three Jones boys, Jon says he’s not surprised that his two brothers made it to the NFL. But he is surprised that he’s an accomplished athlete as well.
“I knew my brothers would be in the NFL because they were standouts in college, but I thought it was a bit farfetched to think I’d be in the UFC, let alone a UFC champion,” Jon Jones said, in comments provided by the UFC. “I was a jazz choir singer [growing up]. I didn’t get in many fights as a kid. I never thought I’d be considered as one of the toughest fighters in the world.”
Arthur, Jon and Chandler grew up with a father who’s a preacher and instilled discipline and toughness and gave them unconventional workouts, like having them row a boat into the middle of a lake near their Upstate New York home and then telling them to jump in the water and swim back. Their mother, Camille Jones, says she never realized just how much toughness her husband instilled in her boys.
“Did I expect this? As far as athletic abilities, never,” Camille Jones said. “I thought all three of my boys were going to be preachers like their dad. When they first started playing sports, I was afraid that something would happen. I was scared they’d get hurt.”
On the defensive line and in the Octagon, the Jones brothers have been the ones doing the hurting. They’ll all have a big stage to show what they can do this weekend.