Tevin Jones looked down at his white cleats Thursday night and smiled.
The Chiefs had just beaten the Tennessee Titans 30-6 in their final exhibition game, but the game had additional meaning for Jones, a Houston native whose family was rocked by Hurricane Harvey.
“It meant a lot, because I’m doing it for a lot of people,” said Jones, a 24-year-old receiver. “Hurricane Harvey hit me kind of hard and my people back at home, so I’m glad I got a chance to go out there and do it for them.”
Specifically, Jones — a 6-foot-2, 225-pounder who flashed ball skills and burst on a 68-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter — lost a close family friend and father figure in the storm by the name of Ruben C. Jordan, Jones’ track coach at Clear Creek High School in League City, Texas.
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Jones’ family didn’t want to tell him about the news, they wanted him to focus on making the team since the Chiefs have to pare the roster down from 90 to 53 men by 3 p.m. Saturday. But Jones found out on social media, anyway, and decided to scribble “R.I.P” and “Jordan” on his cleats in remembrance of his mentor.
“If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here right now,” said Jones, who says he only found out about Jordan’s death two days ago. “I took it hard.”
Jones credited his teammates in the receiver room for helping him get through it — “one step at a time, I got through it,” he said — and took some comfort in knowing he’d been able to deliver a big play for his old coach as Jones battles for his football livelihood.
“I know he saw it,” Jones said.
As for the rest of his family, he’s not sure they were able to watch, since many of them lost their electricity in the storm.
“But if they didn’t watch it, I’m pretty sure they heard about it, and they’ll be happy — they’ll be really happy,” Jones said. “And I know my whole family, they should be all right.”