James Jones (running back, born 1958)

This article is about the American football player who played for Mississippi State University and the Dallas Cowboys. For the American football player who played for the University of Florida, Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks, see James Jones (running back, born 1961).
James Jones
No. 23
Position: Running back / Kick returner
Personal information
Date of birth: (1958-12-06)December 6, 1958
Place of birth: Vicksburg, Mississippi
Height: 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight: 201 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school: Vicksburg (MS)
College: Mississippi State
NFL Draft: 1980 / Round: 3 / Pick: 80
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts: 84
Rushing yards: 331
Receptions: 42
Receiving yards: 312
Kickoff returns: 70
Return yards: 1,440
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

James Jones, Jr. (born December 6, 1958) is a former professional American football running back and kick returner in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Mississippi State University.

Early years

Jones attended Vicksburg High School before moving on to Mississippi State University. He was a three-year starter and a had a Junior year to remember, when he was one of the nation scoring leaders and received second-team All-SEC honors.

While playing in a pass-oriented offense, he led the team in rushing with 687 yards and 10 touchdowns, 24 receptions for 237 yards and 3 touchdowns, completed 2 passes for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns and had 3 two-point conversions.[1] He scored 26 points in one game against Memphis State University.[2]

In 1979, he was lost for the year after suffering a knee injury during a 28-9 victory against the University of Tennessee.[3]

Professional career

Jones was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (80th overall) of the 1980 NFL Draft. As one of Tony Dorsett's backups, he served the role of an all-purpose running back and the team's primary return specialist.

He suffered a serious left knee injury in 1982 that cost him most of the season,[4] all of the next year and forced him to start the 1984 season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, after having multiple operations.[5]

In 1984 and 1985 he returned as a situational player. He retired before the start of the 1986 training camp.[6]

Jones totaled 1,444 kickoff return yards (20.6 average) and 736 punt return yards (8.5 average) during his career. He registered 331 rushing yards, 312 receiving yards and 1 touchdown pass.


  1. "Bulldogs bring explosive team". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  2. "Jones Coming For UF Team". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  3. "Bellard has a plan for Mississippi State". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  4. "Cowboys face RB shortage". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  5. "Knee Injury Downs Andrews". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
  6. "Leon Hess: no New York conspiracy". Retrieved February 19, 2016.
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