BACK TO SCHOOL
The redshirt sophomore QB announced he'll return to Ohio State instead of entering the NFL draft. Jones started just three games, but one was the 42--20 victory over Oregon in the national title game.
DAN PATRICK:Who's the starting QB at Ohio State?
CARDALE JONES: I have no idea. No promises were made to me.
DP:Would you be surprised if J.T. Barrett was the starter?
CJ: It's going to be an open battle. Our coaches are going to put the team in the best position to win games.
DP:Was it possible to get any feedback from the NFL?
CJ: That's what made [my decision] so hard. We had a couple of reliable sources that we trusted.
DP:If you had two weeks, would your decision have been different?
CJ: Maybe. One of the things I've said before: Football is a tool to get a higher education.
DP:Did you ask Coach Meyer his opinion?
CJ: We talked about it. He gave me the pros and cons of staying and leaving. He did let me know that the NFL is in my future. Coach Meyer is a guy that I trust and believe. I trust him with my career as well. He didn't feel like I was ready for the NFL.
DP:How have things changed since your infamous 2012 comment claiming you don't play school?
CJ: Maturity. I never really felt that way. I tweeted that after receiving a B-plus on a sociology exam. My coaches understood. It was something dumb.
DP:Tougher defense: Oregon or Alabama?
CJ: I'll say Alabama. They were a little bigger, faster and more physical.
DP:Did either team talk trash?
CJ: Yeah, a couple guys.
CJ: Both. Number 33 for Oregon and number 26 for Alabama.
DP:What did they say?
CJ: Just trying to get in my head. Not too many things can get me out of my zone on the field.
DP:What if they said, "Hey, third string?"
CJ: I would have really made it personal if they'd said that.
DP:If I had told you that you were going to start at quarterback in the national title game, you'd win and that LeBron James would hug you afterward, what would you have said?
CJ: I probably would have called you a fool. The position that I was in and the position my team was in, I would have laughed.
DP:You overcame a difficult family situation growing up. Does that make your story any more special?
CJ: A lot of kids I grew up with are like me. For me to overcome some of those challenges—it's a great story, but it's not like I'm the first or will be the last.
DP:What do think when you look at your new baby, Chloe?
CJ: I just want to provide a better life for her than I've had. I don't want her to see half the things I did. I see hope.
New Bills coach Rex Ryan is confident he can keep talented players in Buffalo. "You don't necessarily get people to come here," Ryan said. "But when people are here, they stay. It could be that they love it or it might be that they're snowed in." ... Former Giants offensive lineman David Diehl, who retired last year after 11 NFL seasons, discussed the toll of playing in the trenches: "People give me a hard time when I wear two Super Bowl rings. But look at my hands. This one has eight pins and screws in it. I had to get my thumb sewn back on." ... Six-time Pro Bowler Jason Taylor, who's 6'6", played at 244 pounds, light for a DE. He has issues with anyone who put on weight artificially. "I want to know [who's taking PEDs]," Taylor said. "We're all in this together. Let's not cheat each other. Play it the right way. Play it naturally."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
JEFF HAYNES FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (JONES)
BILL WIPPERT/AP (RYAN)
JASON KEMPIN/GETTY IMAGES FOR RUSH FOR LITERACY (DIEHL)
JOE RIMKUS JR./MIAMI HERALD/MCT/GETTY IMAGES (TAYLOR)