Oakland Raiders Wide Receiver Joins Gunderson High School Classmate, Comcast SportsNet Reporter Fallon Smith for Half-Hour Special
SAN FRANCISCO, CA (September 3, 2014) – It was the pinnacle of his NFL career, but raising the Lombardi Trophy meant more to James Jones than being a Super Bowl champion. It represented a lifelong journey, a journey for a San Jose native, who as a child, was without a home for the first 15 years of his life. Comcast SportsNet California (@CSNAuthentic) will provide viewers with a poignant and inspiring half-hour program entitled Coming Home: James Jones, detailing Jones’ humble beginnings, his road to a Super Bowl championship, and his homecoming to the Bay Area and the Oakland Raiders. Coming Home: James Jones, a story of heartache, hope, love and triumph, premieres on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m. PT on Comcast SportsNet California.
In Coming Home: James Jones, Jones takes Gunderson High School classmate and Comcast SportsNet reporter Fallon Smith (@FallonSmithCSN) along for a personal, in-depth look into his childhood surroundings and for visits to the South Bay neighborhoods and a homeless shelter he grew up in and to the Gunderson campus, and shares his riveting stories of struggle and despair. Additionally, Jones spends time with families at the San Jose Family Shelter and offers words of encouragement and hope.
Interview subjects in Coming Home: James Jones include: Jones’ mother Janet, wife Tamika and Pop Warner coach Marion Larrea.
Please note the following quotes from Comcast SportsNet California’s Coming Home: James Jones:
On Green Bay’s Super Bowl XLV win over Pittsburgh: “It was just a surreal moment when I saw the confetti coming down. I just dropped to my knee, I just started crying. I just thought of the journey I went through to get here. A kid that grew up homeless, coach paid for him to play football, in and out of motels, didn’t eat some nights. From homeless shelter to homeless shelter and now you’re on the biggest stage and you’re a Super Bowl champion. It was just an unbelievable feeling.”
On his childhood struggles: “I was homeless for 15 years. In and out of homeless shelters, in and out of hotels. It was rough, mom was on drugs, dad was on drugs. I remember my childhood like it was yesterday. I remember sleeping in tents, I remember sleeping on benches. It was extremely rough going through the things that I went through. The hardest part is you only get 90 days to stay in the homeless shelters, and then you have to leave. It was rough, it was humbling.”
On mother being a single parent and doing her best to provide for her family: “Being so young, you really don’t understand what you’re supposed to do to get out of that situation (homelessness) so I just believed in my mom, seen her get up every day and try to provide for us. I tried to do the same, stay out of trouble, just make sure I was strong, persevered through the whole situation. I respect my mom so much, that’s why I do everything I do for her because I’ve seen how hard she worked every day to get up and make sure she had a roof over our head. That’s what my mom did every day. Whether she was on drugs, whether she didn’t feel like it that day, whatever she did, she got up every day and she had a plan on how she was going to get us a motel, how she was going to get us food, or how she was going to get us in another homeless shelter.”
Advice Jones shares with others: “I go to homeless shelters, football camps, whatever, I tell them (kids) hard work has never been beaten, I’ve never seen somebody wake up every day, work extremely hard and not get something. Now, you may not get what you want, but you’re going to get something, just continue to work hard.”
After the debut (Saturday, Sept. 6 at 4:30 p.m.), Coming Home: James Jones re-airs later that evening at 7:30 p.m., Monday, September 8 at 3 p.m., Wednesday, September 10 at 9:30 p.m., Saturday, September 13 at 9:30 p.m., and Friday, September 26 at 9 p.m. For additional air dates and times, visit CSNCalifornia.com.
Jones, born in San Jose, Calif., lived in various homeless shelters with his mother Janet and his older sister Desiree. As a child, Jones attended seven different elementary schools. In search of some stability, he moved into his paternal grandmother’s house when he was 15 years old. But even then, there were at one point 19 people living in a three bedroom house. Despite living in a crowded home, Jones finally had some normalcy in his life; he spent all four years at Gunderson High School and became a basketball, track and football star athlete. Jones received a scholarship to play football at San Jose State, where he became one of the most accomplished wide receivers in school history.
Jones had a breakthrough 2006 senior season, where he caught 70 passes (893 yards and 10 touchdowns). He capped off his college football career by catching six passes (106 yards), two for touchdowns, en route to being named the offensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl. Jones’ accomplishments his senior year earned him second team All-WAC honors along with an invite to the NFL Combine.
Jones was selected by the Green Bay Packers in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. In 2010, Jones had 50 receptions for 679 yards and 5 touchdowns. He scored two touchdowns in the playoffs, one each in the Wild Card and Divisional rounds against Philadelphia and Atlanta. In Super Bowl XLV against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jones caught 5 passes for 50 yards in Green Bay's 31-25 triumph. After winning the Super Bowl, Jones presented his game worn jersey to his Pop Warner coach Marion Larrea, the man he credits with turning his life around.
After seven seasons with Green Bay, Jones returns home to the Bay Area after signing a three-year deal with Oakland in the off-season.
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and Comcast SportsNet California, both part of NBC Sports Regional Networks, serve more than four million households in Northern California, Nevada, Southern Oregon and Hawaii. Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, the television home of MLB’s San Francisco Giants, NBA’s Golden State Warriors, AFL’s San Jose SaberCats and the official regional sports network of the San Francisco 49ers, also features a robust lineup of Emmy Award-winning news, analysis and original programming. Comcast SportsNet California offers live coverage of MLB’s Oakland Athletics, NBA’s Sacramento Kings, NHL’s San Jose Sharks, MLS’s San Jose Earthquakes and is the official regional sports network of the Oakland Raiders. Collectively, these networks deliver more than 600 live sporting events per year, over 1,500 live studio shows, including SportsNet Central, Yahoo SportsTalk Live, Pregame Live, Postgame Live, Press Conference Live, as well as compelling digital content, up-to-the-minute scores, highlights and breaking news via www.CSNBayArea.com and www.CSNCalifornia.com. Follow both networks on Twitter via @CSNAuthentic.
NBC Sports Regional Networks, part of the NBC Sports Group, consists of 11 regional networks that deliver more than 2,400 live sporting events annually, along with award-winning breaking news, comprehensive analysis, digital content and original programming to more than 43 million homes. The NBC Sports Regional Networks are: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Comcast SportsNet Houston, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, which serves Baltimore and Washington D.C., Comcast SportsNet New England, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, The Comcast Network, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and SportsNet New York. For additional information, visit ComcastSportsNet.com. For more information on NBC Sports Group properties, including press releases, photos, talent and executive bios and headshots, please visit NBCSportsGroupPressBox.com.
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Jay dela Cruz