On Friday evening, the Denver Broncos confirmed the death of Super Bowl-winning offensive lineman Tony Jones at the age of 54.
Jones spent 12 seasons in the NFL as an offensive lineman from 1988-2000. He spent his first eight seasons with the Cleveland Browns. When the Browns relocated and became the Baltimore Ravens in 1996, Jones played for the team for one more season. He then signed with the Denver Broncos where he played the last four seasons of his career.
In 1997, Jones started at right tackle helping protect Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway. The team went on to win the franchise their first Super Bowl later that season.
Jones and the Broncos went on to win the 1998 Super Bowl as well, solidifying the team as one of the few NFL teams to ever win in back-to-back seasons. Jones earned Pro Bowl status that same year, and continued to start on the offensive line for the remainder of this career.
Former Broncos wide receiver Rod Smith paid his respects to his teammate saying the world lost “a great man” today.
“We lost a great man. Just happened to be a hell of a ball playa. We love you and miss you Bone,” Smith wrote on Instagram. “One of the Broncos all time best tackles. greatest dresser of ALL-TIME!”
Tony Jones – Member of the Broncos Top 100 Team
In 2019, the Royston, GA native was named to the Broncos Top 100 Team. The list recognized the all-time greats of the franchise. In 2016, the team’s official website ranked Jones as the fourth-best tackle in team history.
The 6-foot-5, 290-pound helped create running lanes for future Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis. In fact, Davis ran for more than 2,000 yards in 1998 and won league MVP honors.
Additionally, during Super Bowl XXXIII, Jones protected John Elway’s blindside and heavily contributed to the quarterback’s MVP-winning Super Bowl performance. It would be the quarterback legend’s last game of his career.
Jones started in 174 out of the 184 regular season games he appeared in, and started in 12 of his 13 playoff games.
Three-time All-Pro tackle Willie Anderson shared thoughts on Jones on Twitter. He called him a “great dad, friend, offensive tackle, trainer and coach.”
Jones was close to Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Atwater. The two former NFL players even lived near each other after they retired from professional football.
“He was an amazing guy, a heck of a nice guy,” Atwater told the Broncos’ website. “Great football player — mean, nasty. That’s the kind of guy that you want to go to war with if you’re going to war. And we were really good friends. We lived in the same neighborhood when we lived in Georgia — lived down in Sugarloaf down there. We had a pretty good friendship. … He and one other friend of mine, we got lunch a little bit before I moved from Atlanta, took me out to lunch. I always remember how nice of a guy he was, how great he was with his kids. A good guy, man.”