Namesake of Cowboys legend happy to be a Steeler


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Kevin Jones did not fill out his son's birth certificate until the day after he left the hospital. Kevin and his wife Kellye had no boys names in mind after being told a sonogram revealed in the seventh month of Kellye's pregnancy that they were expecting their third girl.

It wasn't until the couple returned to their home in Artesia, N.M., that they settled on the name Landry, a nod to Kevin's boyhood idol, Hall of Fame coach Tom Landry of the Dallas Cowboys.

Kevin rooted hard for the Cowboys in Super Bowls X and XIII against the Steelers and celebrated when the Cowboys exacted some revenge in Super Bowl XXX.

So, when Landry was chosen by the Steelers last weekend in the fourth round of the NFL draft, one might have assumed Kevin had mixed feelings.

Wrong.

"Greatest organization in football," Kevin said of his reaction when he found out the Steelers drafted his son.

Chances are Kevin would have said the same thing had any of the other 31 teams in the NFL drafted Landry, but he long ago gave up rooting for the Cowboys, and it has nothing to do with Dallas not winning a Super Bowl in the past 17 years.

Kevin broke allegiances from the Cowboys when Landry started to get recruited by major colleges because he thought some day Landry would be playing in the NFL and he'd have to stop cheeringfor them anyway.

Talk about planning for the future.

Last Saturday, Kevin became a fan of the Steelers when he finally heard Landry's name called near the end of the fourth round.

Landry hoped to go much higher. As the successor to former No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford at Oklahoma, Jones started 48 consecutive games for the Sooners and broke most of the school's major passing records. He threw for almost 17,000 yards and 123 touchdowns for the Sooners and, at one point, was pegged to follow Bradford as a first-round pick.

Now Jones will be in the position of learning as a reserve without much room for advancement in the short term because he will be behind franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Jones, once viewed as the potential No. 1 overall pick as a sophomore at Oklahoma, was called the "biggest enigma" of the 2013 quarterback class by NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks.

Jones was downgraded by NFL scouts the past two seasons for inconsistencies in his decision-making and his inability to come through in big games. This weekend, he took the first step toward proving his doubters wrong at Steelers rookie camp.

"It's a big opportunity for me being here period," said Jones, who is 6 feet 3 and weighs 221 pounds.

"It's a lifetime dream, to be a professional football player. Now you're out here learning and doing this stuff."

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin gave his first impressions of Jones Saturday afternoon after a morning practice.

"It's a work in progress," Tomlin said. "I like his attitude. He's a good communicator. He's a sharp guy in the classroom, but, like all the others, he's at the very beginning of his journey."

It has been a whirlwind weekend for Jones, who is digesting a brand-new playbook and playing with a new cast of teammates, excluding former Sooners receiver Justin Brown, a sixth-round pick who is hoping to make the team as well.

"Terminology is different, protection is different," Jones said. "It's something you'll have to get used to.

"You're just trying to remember the plays, trying to remember where people are going. You're having a lot of information thrown at you."

Barring injury, Jones will have plenty of time to learn the ropes. Roethlisberger remains in his prime and has three years remaining on his contract. Plus, the Steelers signed veteran Bruce Gradkowski to be Roethlisberger's backup this season.

Jones has exchanged text messages with Roethlisberger and would like to pick his brain more once the rest of the veteransreturn to town for organized team activities later this month.

"He's been in this offense," Jones said. "I'm going to lean on him a lot.

"Hopefully, I'll get a lot of information out of him."

Steelers - mobilehome

Ray Fittipaldo: rfittipaldo@post-gazette.com and Twitter @rayfitt1. First Published May 5, 2013 4:00 AM


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