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“Too Tall” still isn’t above giving back

Super Bowl Champion Ed “Too Tall” Jones speaks to youth at 2016 BBCB Summit.

Chuck Muller, Contributor

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  In selecting speakers for this year’s Black, Brown, and College Bound Summit put on by Hillsborough Community College, HCC President Dr. Ken Atwater only had to reach as far as his childhood.

Dr. Ken Atwater, HCC president, introuduces his chilhood friend Ed "Too Tall' Jones at the BBCB luncheon.

Chuck Muller
Dr. Ken Atwater, HCC president, introuduces his chilhood friend Ed “Too Tall’ Jones at the BBCB luncheon.

  “I’ve know Ed since he was just ‘Ed Jones’,” Dr. Atwater chuckled as he prepared to introduce his childhood friend to a group of about 400 students, young professionals, and mentors Saturday night for the 10th annual BBCB event.

  “I’ve known that man since I was six months old,” Dr. Atwater says.

  Ed Jones, known to millions of fans across the world by his nickname, “Too Tall,” was the first overall pick in the 1974 NFL draft, a three-time all pro, and part of the Super Bowl XII Champion Dallas Cowboys.

  As a 15-year NFL veteran and former pro boxer, Jones knows all too well what it truly takes to be a successful professional.

  Jones, who gave an opening address that was followed by a public interview directed by Garin Flowers of WTSP (10 News), spoke eagerly and emphatically to a group of young men searching for a game plan for their long-term success.

  “To be successful, there is a price you pay,” Jones insisted.

  “Nothing comes easy. Nothing comes easy. There is no easy way out. You have to sacrifice a lot of things.”

  Coming from a family of educators in Jackson, Tennessee, Jones understands the value of education, emphasizing that value to a young, captivated crowd.

  “All five of my sisters have retired from 35 years in education,” said Jones of his family.

  “They constantly remind me, When you’re traveling all over the world and all these young men run up to you asking you how to become a professional athlete, make sure you remind them that education is first.” Jones told.

Ed Jones shares his views on the importance of education at the BBCB summit.

Chuck Muller
Ed Jones shares his views on the importance of education at the BBCB summit.

  Along with Jones, other speakers from this year’s BBCB event included Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and filmmaker Antonio Vargas, Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ great and NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Brooks, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.

  When asked about speaking at the same event as Powell, Jones spoke with excitement and humility.

  “First time meeting him,” Jones remarked. “I can’t believe it, because I do a lot with Wounded Warriors.

  That’s one of my favorite charities, and I’ve been involved for years. He’s involved also, so I can’t believe we’ve never bumped heads.”

  Along with Wounded Warriors and BBCB, Jones is also involved with Boys and Girls Clubs of America and the Special Olympics.

  Although many may believe that being blessed with tremendous athleticism and a tireless work ethic got him to where he is today, Jones credits those that were willing to help him along his way to that success that drove him to give back.

  “When you talk to anyone who has been successful, when they think about it, they’ll say someone helped them along the way.

  It may have been financially or just between the ears, but I had that happen to me. And I never forgot that,” said a grateful Jones.

  He adds, “I always said that if I were ever in a position to give back, I would. And I do.”

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“Too Tall” still isn’t above giving back