As usual, the Seattle Seahawks’ 2020 NFL draft class includes several players who at some point in their lives have overcome a significant personal hardship, a characteristic that appeals to coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider.
The same is true for one of their undrafted free agents (UDFA), Anthony Jones, a running back from Florida International who was seriously injured in a drive-by shooting in 2018.
Jones, a close relative of Minnesota Vikings running back Dalvin Cook, agreed to a deal with Seattle after going undrafted Saturday, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
The shooting took place on Sept. 6, 2018, as Jones and an FIU teammate were visiting a friend in Opa-Locka, Florida, just north of Miami. According to the Associated Press, a bullet entered Jones’ back and exited underneath his left eye, requiring emergency surgery due to swelling in his neck. He had to be fed through a tube for almost two weeks.
“That first night, I asked God, ‘Why me?'” Jones told The Associated Press in 2018. “I did. You know I did. I just wished I could rewind time, man. Why me? I don’t ever do anything to anybody. I’m a good dude. I respect everybody. I’m a respectful man. My momma raised me right. I’ve never done anything to anybody. I just want to play football, graduate, get my degree and help my family.
“I have that chance now. A second chance.”
Jones missed seven games in the 2018 season following the shooting, returned in November for the final five games and rushed for 92 yards and three touchdowns in 15 carries in FIU’s bowl game. In 41 games over four seasons, he totaled 2,010 yards and 21 touchdowns in 418 carries (4.8 average). That includes a career-high 867 rushing yards and a nine touchdowns last season.
Mershawn Miller, an FIU offensive lineman who was shot in the arm during the incident, also returned to the field later that season.
Jones told the AP he doesn’t know the man who was charged with the shooting nor what his motive was.
“The doctor at the hospital when it happened told me, ‘Coach, I’ve been doing this for like 18 years and I’ve never seen anybody survive this,'” FIU coach Butch Davis said. “And then he described the bullet wounds, where they went, what they didn’t touch. For that shot to go through and not hit any organs, any bones, any nerve tissue, he said it’s a miracle. It honestly is a miracle.”
The Seahawks also drafted Miami running back DeeJay Dallas in the fourth round to bolster their backfield depth with Chris Carson and Rashaad Penny coming off season-ending injuries. Jones joins those three, as well as 2019 sixth-round pick Travis Homer and 2019 UDFA Adam Choice, who didn’t play as a rookie due to injuries. Marshawn Lynch, C.J. Prosise and Robert Turbin are unrestricted free agents from last year’s Seahawks backfield.
The Seahawks also agreed to UDFA deals with Washington State quarterback Anthony Gordon and Baylor safety Chris Miller, sources confirmed to ESPN. Gordon was second in the nation in 2019 to Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow in passing yards (5,579) and touchdown passes (48). Russell Wilson is Seattle’s only quarterback under contract.