- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPNNewYork.com
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The phone calls, text messages and e-mails have been pouring in. But Chad Jones got one phone call he won't soon forget.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell called the New York Giants' rookie safety to see how Jones was recovering following intensive surgery on his left leg after Friday's car accident.
"Chad wishes he could tell everybody how wonderful the messages make him feel with the calls and the texts," Al Jones, Chad Jones' father, said by telephone Monday night. "Even Mr. Goodell gave him a call and wished him well and a speedy recovery."
Three days after undergoing seven hours of surgery to save his shattered left leg and restore blood flow to his ankle and foot to avoid the possibility of amputation, Jones was in good spirits as he continues to heal. The third-round pick was so upbeat that he has been talking about playing football again despite the fact the recovery process will be long and arduous.
It is not known yet whether Jones will be able to play again, but his agent, Rocky Arceneaux, has told reporters he believes his client will walk and run again based on the type of athlete the former two-sport star is.
"Yes, of course, that is his attitude and what he thinks about," Al Jones said of his son's mindset to play football again. "When you spend as much time with him as we have, that conversation is going to be natural. It popped up. That is on his mind and his motivation and he wants to be able to get back into action and being his old self. He already knows that it is going to be a long time. So of course he is talking about it."
Al Jones said his son doesn't remember too much about what happened Friday morning before the accident. The Giants' rookie lost control of his Range Rover because he was trying to get off streetcar tracks, according to reports.
Police are still investigating the accident. Police have not received a toxicology report but they have said there was no evidence at the scene that alcohol was a factor.
Al Jones said he hasn't dwelled too much on what happened, choosing to focus on his son's recovery.
"That is all he remembers," Al said of his son apparently trying to steer off the streetcar tracks. "My major concern is getting Chad healthy."
Jones will require skin grafts for his left leg, according to his father. Any other procedures will be based on how the recovery goes.
The Giants have talked to their rookie, but just to see how he is doing. Coach Tom Coughlin and general manager Jerry Reese have spoken to Jones by telephone. Players such as Antrel Rolle and rookie roommate Jason Pierre-Paul also have been in touch. Charles Way, director of player development, traveled to New Orleans on Saturday and was still with Jones Monday.
Jones has been talking sports with friends, former coaches and trainers while in the hospital. He helped LSU win national championships in both football and baseball, was drafted by the Astros out of high school and the Brewers this spring, shortly after the Giants took him in the NFL draft. But Jones isn't ready to give up on his dream of playing in the NFL yet, though baseball might end up being an alternative.
Al Jones said his son -- who signed a four-year, $2.61 million contract that included a signing bonus reportedly worth $825,965 -- still wants to play for the Giants if he can make it back.
"There haven't been any conversations about leaving football," Al Jones said. "Chad wants to play ... quite naturally he wants to get healthy first. That is where his mind is at. See where the progress and rehab is going to take him. Of course he wants to play football. It is a natural thing. He is not talking about giving up that dream."
Jones had been scheduled to attend the NFL Rookie Symposium, which started this week in California. Goodell mentioned Jones and his "terrible, tragic" car accident during his address to the rookies Sunday night, according to NFL.com.
"He's doing well, he sounded great," Goodell said. "But it just shows you how fast life can change. He was expecting to be here with you guys, and now he's not here."
Like Jones, Goodell hopes the Giants' safety plays football again.
"He had to struggle for his life, and he's going to have a long rehabilitation," Goodell said. "And hopefully he's going to make it back."
The father of New York Giants rookie safety Chad Jones says his son is in good spirits and that his injured left leg and foot are looking better.