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Subject: Kenyatta Jones, Football player (New England Patriots, Washington Redskins)

Dead at 39
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Date Posted: Saturday, June 09, 04:39:15pm

Kenyatta Jones, USF’s first NFL draft pick, dies at 39

Joey Knight
Times staff writer

Published: June 9, 2018
Updated: June 9, 2018 at 07:08 PM

Former USF OT Kenyatta "Bear" Jones, the first Bull ever selected in the NFL draft, has passed away in Colorado, his mother confirmed Saturday.

Jessica Hadley-Brown, heading out the door of her Marion County home to catch a plane for Colorado, said her son died of cardiac arrest. Mr. Jones was 39.

"Just a fun-loving guy, man, like a gentle giant," said former Bulls FB Keith Williams, a teammate of Mr. Jones on USF's inaugural 1997 team. "But on that field, he took care of business."

A Gainesville native who starred at Eastside High, Mr. Jones — listed at 6-foot-4, 308 pounds as a Bulls senior — played four seasons for USF, earning second-team Division I-AA All-Independent team honors in 1998.

"Extremely competitive," former Bulls C Joey Sipp said of Mr. Jones, a former suite mate at USF's Fontana Hall.
"You tell athletes all the time you can't turn it off and turn it on when you wanted to. Kenyatta Jones was one of those guys who could turn it on and turn it off. … When he turned it on, he was unstoppable."

Mr. Jones ran a sub-five-second 40-yard dash at the 2001 NFL scouting combine in Indianapolis, and was selected in the fourth round by the Patriots in the NFL draft that April.

Primarily a guard in the pros, Mr. Jones earned a Super Bowl ring as a Patriots rookie despite limited action. He spent parts of four seasons in the NFL and later played one season (2008) for the Tampa Bay Storm in the Arena Football League.

Characterized as the "life of the party" by Sipp, Mr. Jones' career was tainted by a sequence of arrests, including one on a felony charge of carrying a concealed firearm just prior to his senior season at USF. Mr. Jones underwent pretrial-diversion, according to court records.

In October 2003, he was arrested for allegedly dousing his house guest and administrative assistant with scalding water, and was released by the Patriots five days later.
In July 2008, he was arrested in a Tampa narcotics sweep for allegedly trying to purchase less than a gram each of cocaine and marijuana, but those charges either were dropped or he wasn't prosecuted, court records indicate.
On Saturday, however, former teammates preferred to remember a burly peer described as a fun-loving soul and consummate teammate.

"I mean, just the ultimate teammate, ultimate competitor," former Bulls TB Otis Dixon said.

"On a long, hot day, he was gonna help us get through practice. … Life will never be the same. He hasn't been in my life, but he's in my life."


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