Falcons’ Deion Jones runs for glory, not survival, in return home

Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones intercepts a pass from New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and returns it 90 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Monday night's game. The Falcons won the game 45-32. (AP photo)

Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones intercepts a pass from New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees and returns it 90 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter of Monday night’s game. The Falcons won the game 45-32. (AP photo)

NEW ORLEANS — Eleven years ago, Deion Jones had to run. Hurricane Katrina forced Jones (who was only 11 at the time) and his parents to evacuate New Orleans and begin living a nomadic existence in Mississippi and Texas before eventually moving back home and reuniting with other family members and friends.

Jones ran again Monday night. But this time, in the same building that served as a shelter for hurricane victims, the Falcons’ rookie linebacker lived out a dream, not a nightmare.

He intercepted a tipped pass thrown by New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees — who hadn’t been intercepted in 305 consecutive attempts — and returned it 90 yards for a touchdown, cementing the Falcons’ 45-32 win over the Saints in the Superdome.

These are the cool moments that only sports can provide.

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A shot of Deion Jones’ cleats up close, via the Falcons.

“It was electric. It was a dream come true,” Jones said.

Brees’ pass, intended for receiver Michael Thomas, was broken up by rookie defensive back Brian Poole. The ball popped up, Jones grabbed it and suddenly his feet seemed to have jets. He sprinted 90 yards in the other direction.

“I was kind of tired at the end,” he said.

Magic cleats carried him.

They were decorated, with the abbreviation “NOLA” on one side and a large red ‘X’ on the other, along with a random letters and numbers. The ‘X’ symbolized what rescue workers painted on the sides of homes after they were searched for survivors. Among the survivors was Jones’ grandmother, Montrell Jones, who stubbornly wouldn’t leave her home and had been missing for a few days until later being found. She eventually was found and the family reunited in Houston, although she later passed away.

Jones was mobbed by teammates on the sideline after the touchdowns, particularly by Weatherspoon, who picked him up.

Jones told him, “That’s for his grandma.”

“To come back home like that is special after what he and his family went through,” Weatherspoon said. “To ball out like that on the big stage … and he makes the play to win the game.”

Jones had several family members at the game, and said, “I was glad my whole family was here to see it and be a part of it. I got great support from the guys on the sideline. ‘Spoon got a little emotional, but it was great.”

He said he thought about decorating his cleats early in the week, talking to Falcons assistant equipment manager Kenny Osuwah.

“They had a bunch of designs and I went with this one,” he said. “I just did it as a reminder. It was my tribute to my city — but in the opposite colors (of the Falcons).”

A happy moment for Jones and his family.

EARLIER: My full column on the Falcons’ win is linked here.

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18 comments
Falcons63
Falcons63

Two straight wins on the road.. coming off a crushing opening week loss at home?  Don't underestimate the coaching job by Quinn. Anyone can see the defense has to improve, but you take win's when you can get them and this was a good win against a traditional divisional rival. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@Falcons63

Road W vs hated division rival N.O.?

On the national stage??

"Good win" is understating the importance of last night's outcome.

And the bonus for bloggers is that we don't have to endure the stench of Saints fans on here for awhile.


DawgNole
DawgNole

@Kenny Powers 

Yeah, he's one of them. 

Have you noticed he's been pretty scarce here lately?

Few things worse than a blog coward.

TideDawg
TideDawg

I had hope to see a good Falcon's team last night......I didn't. I thought Ryan and the offense played well but the defense looks the same as he last 2 years. A lot of passes completed against the Falcon's defense when there was not a defender within 10 yards of a receiver. That should only happen occasionally but it happened often. The Falcons outscored the Saints but only because of a couple of fluke interceptions on tipped passes. Fortunately the Saints couldn't get out of their own way(like the punt where the returner was interfered with by his own player) and the Falcon's couldn't get in their way very often. What I saw was a preview of another sad season for the Falcons. The bottom line is "They won". There haven''t been many wins in the last 3-4 years and there won't be many this year. There's always hope that a miracle will happen and the defense will figure out why they are on the field. I'll still watch them and pull for them but watching them get mangled every week, like Ole Miss mangled Ga., is not going to provide much pleasure on cold rainy Sundays.

TOJacket
TOJacket

I don't know how to break this to you but the Falcons never get hammered the way Kirby and the new dawgs did?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Our offense looked very good! If we beat Carolina we will be ok.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Clemson 26, GT 7.

Not as close as the score indicates.

There's your "hammered"!

TOJacket
TOJacket

Hey......Mrs. Landers........Watson played the whole game.....31-0 Rebs at the half, scrubs came in during 3rd qtr. Think before you post.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket

Was Watson not supposed to play the whole game?

Is that your excuse--that the opposing QB played the whole game (GASP!)?

I did think before I posted, and I came to the logical conclusion that you were hammered. It was a completely one-sided a*s kicking, as any objective observer would agree.

Why not concern yourself with that, instead of constantly sniping at UGA, which--despite its obvious shortcomings--absolutely OWNS you?

TOJacket
TOJacket

Should say......Thank you Mrs. Landers.

DawgNole
DawgNole

@TOJacket 

You got the message: It ain't just me who wearies of the moronic, ineffective, hypocritical barbs you fling at UGA 24/7/365.

Get a new shtick, and concern yourself with your own sorry bunch, which clearly doesn't hold a candle head to head on the football field vs the UGA teams you scorn.

TOJacket
TOJacket

At least he is fast enough to cover TE's. Let's get ready for next game! Short week, work hard, Rise Up.

DarlaLewis
DarlaLewis

This could be a fun season, but more emphasis need to be on the defensive side of the ball. To be fair everybody isn't Drew Brees who's always been tuff to stop. I hope Campbell get's healthy and comes back next week we need him to cover Greg Olson. The tight end position with Koby Fleener killed the Falcons last night.