MIKE O'HARA

Detroit native Jason Jones excited to play in first Thanksgiving game

Posted Nov 26, 2014

Stepping across the white lines, from spectator to participant in the annual Thanksgiving Day game, is a giant step for defensive end Jason Jones.

Jason Jones’ long journey in football, from high school and college and through what is now his third team in seven pro seasons, has landed him at Ford Field as a participant in a game that is part of the nation’s sports fabric.

Jones will start at defensive end for his hometown Detroit Lions against the Chicago Bears in the 75th Thanksgiving Day game.

Jason JonesDE Jason Jones (Photo: Detroit Lions)

In cold, hard terms, it is Game 12 on the Lions’ schedule, and a critical step in their drive to make the playoffs.

On a personal level for Jones, it’s an opportunity to be a part of an enduring Detroit sports tradition that was founded in 1934 in the franchise’s first season in Detroit after moving from Portsmouth, Ohio.

Great games, compelling matchups and historic performances abound in the holiday classic that annually gave the NFL a special niche on the sports calendar.

Stepping across the white lines, from spectator to participant, is a giant step for Jones.

“The first time, actually playing in a Thanksgiving game here, it’s exciting,” Jones said. “I’ll definitely have a lot of my family here to support me.”

Jones was born in Detroit and played at Southfield Lathrup High and Eastern Michigan University.

Jones was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the second round in 2008. He signed with Seattle as a free agent in 2012. After one season in Seattle, Jones signed with the Lions as a free agent last year.

Fate has kept Jones on the sideline on Thanksgiving Day as a pro.

Jones missed three games as a rookie with the Titans in ’08. One of those games was the Titans’ victory over the Lions on Thanksgiving Day.

And last year, he went out for the season with a knee injury in the third game against Washington and missed the Lions’ 40-10 beat down of the Green Bay Packers.

Finally, he’ll be part of the show.

“Growing up, I used to watch it because the Lions were always on TV,” he said. “If I was out of town, I’d still catch the games, just to see the tradition – and really to see those throwback jerseys.

“It was a tradition, sitting around, eating food with my family. I thought that just to play here would be fun.

“This will be fun.”