Former Texas Tech defensive tackle Richard Jones has decided to put the pads back on, this time in Lubbock, Texas.
Richard Jones intercepts Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick, now with the San Francisco 49ers.
After a four-year career with the Red Raiders (2006-2009), and stints with the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League, and the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League, Jones will now suit up with the West Texas Outlaws of the Professional American Football League out of Lubbock.
“It was the Lord,” Jones said. “At first I didn’t want to play. I didn’t want to do it. I was prideful and felt like I was better than semi-pro. I played in Canada, I played in the AFL and I could easily go back, but I chose to pursue my music career. When I was asked to join and I went to the first practice I saw how a lot of the other players looked at me and I felt Jesus say ‘humble yourself and tell them about me.’”
The 6-foot-2, 265-pound now-defensive end is a touring Christian rap artist under the name ‘Big Rich.’
“My goal is I want to pursue my music career,” Jones said. “That is what I’m passionate about. If Jesus brings about something else, then so be it. Like I say, I was done. I chose to leave Tampa in the middle of the season to pursue my music career. When God put it on my heart to do this I had to be obedient because there are guys out there that don’t know Jesus, and I think it’s cool because football is a passion of mine. He is using something I love to do and talented at doing to tell people about Jesus.”
Jones plans to share his knowledge of the game and his leadership abilities with players who haven’t had the opportunities on the field that he has.
“Just fundamentals and techniques,” Jones said. “Stuff that I’ve learned. My senior year at Tech I reached out to this coach Keith Mallard. He now coaches the Tennessee Titans’ defensive line. He taught me some techniques for pass rushing and it’s helped me and I’d be willing to share that with any of my teammates to better them.”
Jones weighed in at 281 pounds during his senior season at Texas Tech and has since dropped some weight and picked up speed.
“I actually haven’t been doing football type work outs,” Jones said. “I’ve lost ten pounds since I’ve been playing. Of course I still work out and train every day, but football training is different than regular work outs. I haven’t been doing like Texas Tech work outs, but just regular work outs.”
'Big Rich' performing on stage.
For now, Jones’ knowledge of the level of competition in the PAFL is based on hearsay, but he is hoping to put up double-digit sack numbers, he said.
“They got me playing end and coach said I’ll play a little bit of linebacker,” Jones said. “I was even playing fullback for a couple of sets and coach even put me at running back for a couple of plays.”
Jones will take the field in the Outlaws first pre-season game versus the Garland Aztecs this Saturday afternoon.
“Come out and support me,” Jones said. “See if I still got it – this Saturday at Lena Stephens Field at 4 p.m.”
Jones talks new era of Red Raider football
Jones believes that with all of the new additions to Texas Tech’s coaching staff, the Red Raiders’ program is headed in the right direction.
“Kliff is obviously a big coach,” Jones said. “Look at what he did at A&M this year. And Mike Smith, he’s a defensive mastermind; he played in the NFL and coached there.”
Jones played on the same team as new Texas Tech wide receivers coach Eric Morris.
“He has a passion for the game,” Jones said. “He’ll bring the dimension to the game that he had when he played.”
“They’re definitely going to bring the fans back and it’s good to have a Red Raider as a head coach and somebody that cares about the fans.”