Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones has made more than $60 million in his NFL career, he’s earned a Super Bowl ring and been to three Pro Bowls, but this offseason he put in the work to add one more item to his resume: College graduate.
Jones, who left Syracuse before graduating to enter the 2012 NFL draft, decided to finish his remaining graduation requirements this year.
“To my family and personally, education is very important,” Jones told ESPN. “Even though I haven’t used my degree, as of yet, I’m pretty sure it would definitely come in handy when I’m done playing football. But that’s the reason why I went back after eight, nine years of being out of college. I think that’s very important. My kids could look back and say ‘My dad graduated.’ So, I’m happy. It’s a huge accomplishment for our family. And it hangs right up there with that Super Bowl ring.”
Jones’ academic advisor, Salatha Willis, said Jones never asked for any kind of special accommodations and did the same work that any student taking an online class would do.
“He was a really good student,” Willis said. “Everybody always spoke highly of him. Even the academic coordinators in the past that were in my position spoke highly of him. I asked him if he needed any support from our office in terms of tutoring or anything, because you never know what you may need coming back to school, and he’s like, ‘No, I’m fine. I’ll reach out to you if I need anything.’ And he didn’t need anything.”
The Patriots’ 2012 first-round draft pick, Jones has 96 career sacks, which is the most any player has recorded since 2012.