Sometimes you can tell the mark of a good player by looking at how teammates view him. In the case of Thomas Jones -- who will visit the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday -- he is viewed very fondly by his former teammates on the New York Jets. According to a report in the NY Daily News, Jones' teammates were miffed at his release from the team.
"I can tell you, it's not going to be a popular move in the locker room," an anonymous Jets player told Rich Cimini of the NY Daily News. "We loved T.J. The man loved the game and put it all on the line only to get dumped after his best season."
"A passionate guy like that, with the intensity he brought at certain points in the game, it ignited sparks in everybody," offensive lineman Brandon Moore said. "You would've liked to have kept a guy like that."
Jones saw his carries drop in the playoffs and some have speculated it was because he was "wearing down" late in the season. That may not be the entire story.
"Unbeknown to those outside the team," reports Cimini, "Jones was told with about two weeks left in the regular season that his role was being reduced, sources said."
Statistically, he didn't wear down in the second half of the season. In three of the first eight games, he averaged four yards per carry. In the second half of the season, he averaged over four yards per carry in four games despite getting dramatically more carries.
Jones has been called a workout warrior type, has the respect of his teammates in the locker room and still produces at a high level.
I'd say that's the right 53.