Packers James Jones and the Defeat Hunger Bowl

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GREEN BAY (WITI) — Professional athletes have heard from coaches for years that they should only worry about what they can control. Thus, James Jones of the Green Bay Packers is doing something in life, while not worrying about what’s next in his football life.

Aaron Rodgers is very well-exposed in the world of TV commercials, Clay Matthews enjoys a high profile as a national endorser, and this month, at least, you can see Jones frequently, as he is lending his time to Feeding America and the Defeat Hunger Bowl.

“I always tell my wife — it’s bigger than the game of football. A lot of us that are blessed to play in the National Football League because we have great talent. If you don’t give back and you don’t get out there and help other people, God didn’t put you in that position just to bless yourself. So when you get an opportunity to go out there and help other people, do it,” Jones said.

Jones’ tale is well-known. He was homeless at times as a youth before getting a chance to play football at San Jose State and then to become a Packers player. Now he is encouraging shoppers to donate food at area Walmart stores through the end of January that will go directly to helping families in southeastern Wisconsin.

“When you come from a background like I did, you understand the urgency to make sure these kids get some food,” Jones said.

Jones is as tough as they come on the football field, but he is a doting father to his own kids off the field. Jones’ children don’t lack for much, and with their dad entering free agency again, figure to enjoy more comforts down the road.

“Even right now, I teach my kids sharing and giving back. If I give them a piece of candy, I tell them — ‘go over there and give it to their friends,’ you know what I mean? Just the little things go a long way. You have to teach them hard work even as a young kid and let them know that nothing’s easy — it is hard, because they are going to see that they are in a nice house, they have food in the refrigerator every night, their parents have money — so they are going to assume that a lot of things are given, but hopefully, you put the right values and stuff in them and it will go a long way,” Jones said.

As for whether Jones and his family will be in Green Bay next year…Jones had this to say:

“I don’t know. I hope so. My little son loves his home in Green Bay. He loves the Packers. He loves Aaron Rodgers. He loves Jordy and Randall Cobb, so I hope so. I love these guys. I have been here seven years and I would love to finish my career here but we all know the business side of it,” Jones said.

Jones saw fellow receiver Greg Jennings leave Green Bay as a free agent last off-season for the Minnesota Vikings. That hasn’t worked out for Jennings so far, and Jones isn’t envisioning himself in anything other than the green and gold.

“I haven’t, to be honest with you. I kind of thought we’d get something done during the season, so I haven’t even really thought about free agency or playing for another team. It really hasn’t even hit me yet, and it still hasn’t, so that’s why I’ve told al ot of people I’m at peace with it because I feel like I’ll be back, but then again, you never know,” Jones said.

Jones does know that while he can’t control what happens next in his football life, he is helping families who are dealing with much more immediate needs.

The Defeat Hunger Bowl runs through February 2nd at area Walmart stores.