As a kid growing up in New Orleans, Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones was a diehard Saints fan and always dreamed of playing in the Superdome. Last night, on the 10th anniversary of the Saints’ first game returning to their stadium following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Jones got his wish and said the experience and 45-32 win is something he will never forget.
“It was like all the childhood dreams coming true at one time,” Jones told The Jim Rome Show on Tuesday. “Playing in front of friends and family and displaying my talents out there in the Superdome, and it was an even bigger crowd on the biggest stage, so it was great.”
Having been displaced by Hurricane Katrina as a child, Jones wore a red “X” on his cleats, out of respect for the search crews following the storm, he said.
“It’s pretty much how they labeled houses, the vacant houses, after they checked them,” Jones said. “They’d check the many hazards, any dead bodies or dead pets or anything. It was just my way of showing my tribute to everything that was going on, the anniversary of them re-opening the dome, and what I’ve been through.”
Early in the fourth quarter as the Saints were driving, Jones capped off a night to remember by intercepting quarterback Drew Brees and returning it for a touchdown, a play the 2016 second round draft pick said he didn’t pull off by himself.
“I pretty much had inside help, so I could help Brian Poole on his route, and he made a great break up and the ball was in the air, and I ran to catch it,” Jones said, and then it was off to the races. “Just focus on keeping the ball high and tight and not getting caught.”
Jones said as he was running towards the end zone only one thing was on his mind: “Don’t get caught from behind,” Jones laughed. “I knew I had to score. I was like I’m going to regret it if I don’t.”
Jones’ college, LSU, also made national headlines this week after they fired longtime head coach Les Miles, a decision that hurt the former Tiger linebacker.
“It was a little heart breaking, because you know that was my coach the whole time I was there,” Jones said. “He’s a real players’ coach. He’s pretty much a father figure to us. He holds us accountable, makes sure we’re doing right in class and off the field, and it was just like that was all I knew growing up watching LSU ball, there’s Coach Miles. It was an honor to play for him. I want those guys to keep their head up, and I know Coach (Orgeron) and the people still out there, are going to do a great job the rest of the season.”