KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chris Jones has an uncanny ability to talk just about as quickly as he sheds woebegone offensive linemen, the words spilling out of his mouth in a humorous and sometimes unintelligible manner.
Take, for instance, the Chiefs defensive tackle making his first career interception.
It came during a crucial moment in Sunday’s 27-20 victory over Philadelphia, and set up the touchdown that would ultimately be decisive. Carson Wentz’s pass had ricocheted off linebacker Justin Houston high into the air, and Jones leaped up and grabbed it before turning into a 300-pound running back — one that retreated a good five yards before he was brought to the turf.
“I was headed home. I was out of here, man,” Jones said, trying to explain his return. “I was thinking one of the little guys was about to kill me while I was jumping in the air this long. So that’s why I backed up. I had to check out the scenery. I’ve seen Tyreek (Hill) do it too many times.”
Except when the Chiefs’ speedy wide receiver retreats a few yards, he usually creates enough space to gain a whole lot more. But Jones was promptly tackled by a big offensive lineman.
“He didn’t give me too much time to gather myself,” Jones said, “but it was a good interception.”
In truth, it was a good game all around.
Jones had three of the Chiefs’ six sacks and two of them resulted in fumbles, though the Eagles managed to hop on both. The total, which surpassed his career high, was the most by a Chiefs pass rusher since Houston also had three in a game at Denver last November.
The only other player since 1994 with three sacks, two forced fumbles and a pick in the same game as the Steelers’ James Harrison, who did it against Baltimore in 2007.
“He had a big game. I hope he does that every game,” said Houston, who also had a sack on Sunday. “We’re going to need that week in and week out for us to be a good defense.”
So he expects an interception every week too?
“The more turnovers we can get,” Houston said, “the better chance we put our offense in.”
The gregarious Jones filled up the stat sheet despite missing a few snaps when his sweaty helmet slid down onto his forehead. It looked from afar as if he had taken a blow to the head, and that Kansas City’s medical staff was checking him for a concussion once he got to the sideline.
The injury turned out to be far less serious.
“Hit me in my eye and gave me a little stinger,” Jones said, “but how can you not get back in that game with all that intensity? All the Chiefs fans? We’ve got the best fans in the world, man. Hands down, the best fans in the world. I had to get back out there, man. Too many emotions running around. Emotions were high. I wanted to do it for the team.”
Few people besides draft geeks and fans of the Southeastern Conference knew a lot about Jones when the Chiefs made him their second-round pick last year. But the former Mississippi State standout was an immediate upgrade in the middle of their defensive line, working his way into the starting lineup during training camp a year ago and never giving up his position.
His play on the field earned him a share of fans, but it’s been his outgoing personality that has made him one of the Chiefs’ most popular players. He speaks his mind in a locker room where most players toe the company line, offering good-natured jabs whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Always with a smile on his face, too.
So when Jones was asked whether his performance against the Eagles made him feel as if he’s grown into a team leader, he replied: “However you want to say it.”
“I’m not really as vocal as everyone else is. I’m a quiet guy,” he said with a deadpan face.
Then Jones burst into yet another deep-throated laugh.
“I’m just playing with you,” he said. “Man, you know it!”
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