October 13, 2012; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive end Datone Jones (56) defends against Utah Utes offensive linesman Sam Brenner (74) and offensive linesman Jeremiah Tofaeono (76) during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Datone Jones: He wants to be the best ever


Datone Jones participates in a defensive drill during the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. He wants to be the best NFL player – ever. Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports photograph

As Datone Jones and all the other rookies assemble in Green Bay for the start of their rookie orientation weekend, one can’t help but love how this guy has started out his professional football career.

So far, he’s said all the right things and, in my mind, has come off as a perfect fit to be a Green Bay Packer.

Not only does he seem to have an understanding about the importance of the history of the game (the immediate history, anyway), he certainly shows his true colors by bring up the name of one of the most beloved players in Packers history – Reggie White.

Datone Jones wants to use Reggie White as inspiration.

Here’s what he had to say recently:

“My hero was Michael Strahan growing up, but I loved the nastiness of Reggie White. He was a nasty guy. The Minister of Defense. He was a great player, I want to model myself after. I wish he was still alive so he could take me under his (wing). I want to be the best that has ever played the game of football. I can’t stand losing. I just want to be great.”

Now, what in there isn’t there to like? He wants to the best ever? Those are huge aspirations. Yes, everyone wants to be the best ever, but do they say it before they’ve even played one snap? That takes courage and I hope he’s the type of player who can not only talk the talk, but walk the walk.

“God’s given me the opportunity to play this game. I’ve had an injury where I had to sit out an entire season, and I cried for months. I’ve had my share of adversity. I ask myself all the time, what do I want out of football? Jerry Rice’s son went to UCLA with me, and I talked to Jerry Rice a few times and he told me, ‘I did what no one else wanted to do.’ I was like, ‘Man, how bad do I really want it?’ I try to put myself in the greats’ footsteps.

“I talked to Jerry Rice a lot that year, and he told me, ‘If you want it, you’ll overcome this situation. When you get back on the horse, you’ll respect the game even more.’

“When this is over, I want to be considered the best player ever to play this game.”

We want more than anything for you to do it in Green and Gold, Datone. This weekend, your quest begins – make the most of it.

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