Aaron Jones grew up a Dallas Cowboys fan.
The Cowboys passed up on the chance to draft him after he starred at Burges High School and UTEP.
They already had Ezekiel Elliott as their franchise running back, and they did not use any of their 2017 draft picks on a backup.
Unlike Dallas, the Green Bay Packers lacked a franchise running back and they selected a pair of running backs. BYU’s Jamaal Williams was drafted in the fourth round, and Jones was taken in the fifth round.
The Packers gambled that one of the two runners could develop into a star. Two years later, Jones is on his way to solidifying that status, making a statement against the team he grew up rooting for on Oct. 6. Jones ran for 107 yards and four touchdowns and added another 75 receiving yards on seven receptions.
He also entered the record books as the first player ever to rush for four touchdowns in the same game against the Cowboys. The last time a Packers running back crossed the end zone four times in the same game was in 1999 – a mark left by Dorsey Levens.
Jones threw the football from his third touchdown run to his twin brother Alvin Jr., who was seated in the end zone at AT&T Stadium.
After the game, Packers head coach Matt Lafleur presented the El Paso native the first game ball of his NFL career. Jones then tried to give it to his offensive line for opening up holes all game long, but they threw it back to him.
“It doesn’t get any better than that. It was special,” said Jones, who played in front of 30 close family members and friends. “I’ll never forget this day.”
Through five games this season, Jones is leading the NFL with eight rushing touchdowns. He has become a vital part of the Packers offense – and he has no bigger fan than his quarterback.
“I think he’s confident, but he’s a very humble guy,” Aaron Rodgers said after the Cowboys game. “I think that that goes back to his upbringing, military background. I know LaFleur was tired of him calling him ‘Sir’ all the time. That’s just who he is. He’s a great, great teammate and obviously a great player.”
The Packers win over the Cowboys could have huge implications later this season.
Both teams should finish near or at the top of their respective divisions, and this could be the difference between Green Bay having a bye or home field in the playoffs. The San Francisco 49ers were the only undefeated team left in the NFL as of Oct. 7, but they will square off against the Packers on Nov. 24.
As for Jones, the third-year running back is starting to make a statement about his impact on the field.
His knack for the end zone gives the Packers a big weapon to go along with Rodgers and star receiver Davante Adams, who missed the Cowboys game because of turf toe.
Jones is in the third year of his rookie contract, which is paying him $650,487 this season. Although he does not become an unrestricted free agent until after the 2021 season, the Packers might not want to wait until then if Showtyme continues to deliver big performances on the field.
Since 1997, Steve Kaplowitz has hosted “Sportstalk” from 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays on 600 ESPN El Paso. You can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.